GAELIC SOCIETY OF INVERNESS.
GAELIC SOCIETY OF INVERNESS.
THE GAELIC SOCIETY
Claim nan (iaftjpl an iuailkn a'
PRINTED FOR THE GAELIC SOCIETY OF INVERNESS,
BY THE FREE PRESS PRINTING COMPANY, INVERNESS;
AND SOLD BY JOHN NOBLE, JAMES H. MACKENZIE, JAMES MELVEN, AND
WILLIAM MACKAY, BOOKSELLERS, INVERNESS ;
AND MACLACHLAN & STEWART, EDINBURGH.
PRIXTKD BY THE FRBK TRESS PRINTING COMPACT,
Office-bearers for 1879, vii.
Constitution, : viii.
Introduction, . xiii.
Seventh Annual Assembly Speeches by Mr. John Mackay
and Rev. Alexander Macgregor, .... 1
Leaves from my Celtic Portfolio, third series William
Mackenzie, ........ 18
Seventh Annual Dinner Speeches by Sir Kenneth Mac-
kenzie, Kev. Alexander Macgregor, Mr. William
Mackay, Mr. John Macdonald, Mr. Mackay of
Ben Reay, Mr. John Whyte, Eev. A. D. Mackenzie,
Mr. Colin Chisholm, Mr. W. JoUy, &c., ... 33
The Monks of lona Colin Chisholm, . . . .56
The Celtic Province of Moray James Barren, ... 64
The Cosmos of the Ancient Gaels in its relation to their
Ethics, Part II Donald Boss, .... 77
Leaves from my Celtic Portfolio, fourth series William
Mackenzie, ...... .100
Mackay's Regiment John Mackay, .
Celtic Etymologies C. S. Jerram, . .189
Honorary Chieftains, ...... 205
Life Members, ..... 205
Honorary Members, ... 205
Ordinary Members, .207
Deceased Members of the Society,
List of Books in the Society's Library, , , , ,215
(Saelw cSocietjr of
Lachlan Macdonald of Skaebost.
Alexander Simpson, Provost of Inverness.
Charles Mackay, Culduthel Road.
John Macdonald, Merchant, Exchange.
William Mackay, Solicitor, Church Street.
William Mackenzie, "Free Press" Office, Inverness.
Geo. J. Campbell, Solicitor, Castle Street.
Donald Campbell, Draper, Bridge Street.
John Murdoch, "Highlander" Office, Inverness.
James Eraser, C.E.
Colin Chisholm, Namur Cottage.
William Macdonald, Builder, Hilton.
John Whyte, "Highlander" Office.
Mrs. Mary Mackellar.
Pipe-Major Alexander Maclennan.
The Caledonian Banking Company.
COMUNN GAILIG INBHIR-NIS.
1. 'S e aimn a' Chomuinn " COMUNN
2. 'S e tha an run a' Chomuinn : Na buill a dheanamh
iomlan 'sa' Ghailig; cinneas Canaine, Bardachd, agus Ciuil na
Gaidhealtachd ; Bardachd, Seanachas, Sgeulachd, Leabhraichean
agus Sgriobhanna 's a' chanain sin a thearnadh o dhearmad;
Leabhar-lann a chur suas ann am baile Inbhir-Nis de leabhraichibh
agus sgriobhannaibh ann an canain sam bith a bhuineas do
Chaileachd, lonnsachaidh, Eachdraidheachd agus Sheanachasaibh
nan Gaidheal no do thairbhe na Gaidhealtachd ; c6ir agus cliu nan
Gaidheal a dhion ; agus na Gaidheil a shoirbheachadh a ghna ge
b'e ait am bi iad.
3. 'S iad a bhitheas 'nam buill, cuideachd a tha gabhail suim
do runtaibh a' Chomuinn, agus so mar gheibh iad a staigh:
Tairgidh aon bhall an t-iarradair, daingnichidh ball eile an tairgse,
agus, aig an ath choinneamh, ma roghnaicheas a' mhor-chuid le
crannchur, nithear ball dhith-se no dheth-san cho luath 's a
phaidhear an chomhthoirt ; cuirear crainn le ponair dhubh agus
gheal, ach, gu so bhi dligheach, feumaidh tri buill dheug an crainn
a chur. Feudaidh an Comunn Urram Cheannardan a thoirt do
urrad 'us seachd daoine cliuiteach.
4. Paidhidh Ball Urramach, 'sa' bhliadhna .010 6
Ball Cumanta . . . . . .050
Agus ni Ball-beatha aon chomh-thoirt de . 770
5. 'S a' Cheud-mhios, gach bliadhna, roghnaichear, le crainn,
Co-chomhairle a riaghlas gnothuichean a' Chomuinn, 's e sin aon
Cheann, tri lar-chinn, Cleireach Urramach, Runaire, lonmhasair,
agus coig buill eile feumaidh iad uile Gailig a thuigsinn 's a
bhruidhmn ; agus ni coigear dhiubh coinneamh,
GAELIC SOCIETY OF INVERNESS.
1. The Society shall be called the "GAELIC SOCIETY OP
2. The objects of the Society are the perfecting of the Mem-
bers in the use of the Gaelic language; the cultivation of the
language, poetry, and music of the Scottish Highlands ; the res-
cuing from oblivion of Celtic poetry, traditions, legends, books,
and manuscripts; the establishing in Inverness of a library, to
consist of books and manuscripts, in whatever language, bearing
upon the genius, the literature, the history, the antiquities, and
the material interests of the Highlands and Highland people ; the
vindication of the rights and character of the Gaelic people ; and,
generally, the furtherance of their interests whether at home or
3. The Society shall consist of persons who take a lively in-
terest in its objects, admission to be as follows : The candidate
shall be proposed by one member, seconded by another, balloted
for at the next meeting, and, if he or she have a majority of votes
and have paid the subscription, be declared a member. The ballot
shall be taken with black beans and white ; and no election shall
be valid unless thirteen members vote. The Society has power to
elect distinguished men as Honorary Chieftains to the number of
4. The Annual Subscription shall be, for
Honorary Members . . . . 10 6
Ordinary Members . . . . 050
A Life Member shall make one payment of 7 7
5. The management of the affairs of the Society shall be en-
trusted to a Council, chosen annually, by ballot, in the month of
January, to consist of a Chief, three Chieftains, an Honorary
Secretary, a Secretary, a Treasurer, and five other Members of the
Society, all of whom shall understand and sper.k Gaelic ; five to
form a quorum.
6. Cumar coinneamhan a' Chomuinn gach seachduin o thois-
each an Deicheamh mios gu deireadh Mhairt, agus gach ceithir-
la-deug o thoiseach Ghiblein gu deireadh an Naothamh-mios. '8
i a' Ghailig a labhairear gach oidhche mu'n seach aig a chuid a's
7. Cuiridh a' Cho-chomhairle la air leth anns an t-Seachdamh-
mios air-son Coinneamh Bhliadhnail aig an cumar Co-dheuchainn
agus air an toirear duaisean air-son Piobaireachd 'us ciuil Ghaidh-
ealach eile ; anns an fheasgar bithidh co-dheuchainn air Leughadh
agus aithris Bardachd agus Rosg nuadh agus taghta ; an deigh sin
cumar Cuirm chuideachdail aig am faigh nithe Gaidhealach rogh-
ainn 'san uirghioll, ach gun roinn a dhiultadh dhaibh-san nach tuig
Gailig. Giulainear cosdas na co-dheucliainne le trusadh sonraichte
a dheanamh agus cuideachadh iarraidh o'n t-sluagh.
8. Cha deanar atharrachadh sam bith air coimh dhealbhadh a'
Chomuinn gun aontachadh dha thrian de na'm bheil de luchd-
bruidhinn Gailig air a' chlar-ainm. Ma's miann atharrachadh a
dheanamh a's eiginn sin a chur an ceill do gach ball, mios, aig a'
chuid a's lugha, roimh'n choinneamh a dh'fheudas ant-atharrachadh
a dheanamh. Feudaidh ball nach bi a lathair roghnachadh le
9. Taghaidh an Comunn Bard, Piobaire, agus Fear-leabhar-
Ullaichear gach Paipear agus Leughadh, agus giulainear gach
Deasboireachd le run fosgailte, duineil, durachdach air-son na
firimi, agus cuirear gach ni air aghaidh aim an spiorad caomh,
glan, agus a reir riaghailtean dearbhta.
6. The Society shall hold its meetings weekly from the begin-
ning of October to the end of March, and fortnightly from the
beginning of April to the end of September. The business shall
be carried on in Gaelic on every alternate night at least.
7. There shall be an Annual Meeting in the month of July,
the day to be named by the Committee for the time being, when
Competitions for Prizes shall take place in Pipe and other High-
land Music. In the evening there shall be Competitions in Read-
ing and Reciting Gaelic Poetry and Prose, both original and select.
After which there will be a Social Meeting, at which Gaelic sub-
jects shall have the preference, but not to such an extent as
entirely to preclude participation by persons who do not under-
stand Gaelic. The expenses of the competitions shall be defrayed
out of a special fund, to which the general public shall be invited
8. It is a fundamental rule of the Society that no part of the
Constitution shall be altered without the assent of two-thirds of
the Gaelic speaking Members on the roll ; but if any alterations
be required due notice of the same must be given to each member,
at least one month before the meeting takes place at which the
alteration is proposed to be made. Absent Members may vote by
9. The Society shall elect a Bard, a Piper, and a Librarian.
All Papers and Lectures shall be prepared, and all Discussions
carried on, with an honest, earnest, and manful desire for truth ;
and all proceedings shall be conducted in a pure and gentle spirit,
and according to the usually recognised rules.
IN presenting the Members with the eighth volume of the Society's
Transactions a few general remarks relative to the work of our last
session, and the present state of Celtic matters, may not be out of
The volume opens with a report of our Seventh Annual
Assembly, which, it will be seen, was in every way a success
its only drawback being the unavoidable absence of the Chief.
After it we had a large accession to cur membership, and the
Society was meeting with the utmost encouragement when the
country was overtaken by the financial disasters which have, for
some time past, so much engrossed the public mind. As might
naturally be expected that, combined with a winter of unprecedented
severity, interfered to a considerable degree with the number
and success of our meetings during the first half of the session.
In January last the Annual Dinner was held. Sir Kenneth
Mackenzie of Gairloch, presided, and delivered an excellent
address on the crofter, as he was and as he is. There was, notwith-
standing the untoward state of matters throughout the country,
a large attendance, and several excellent speeches were delivered.
From that date onwards our meetings went on with uninterrupted
success. They were all fairly well attended, and papers on a
variety of subjects of interest to the Celt were read and discussed.
These will be found in the present volume,
It may not be out of place to add (although it does not
properly come within the scope of this volume) that the Eighth
Annual Assembly was probably the most successful ever held under
the auspices of the Society. The Chief, Mr. Lachlan Macdonald
of Skaebost, presided, and among his supporters were Professor
Blackie ; Eev. Alex. Macgregor, Inverness ; Eev. Alex. Cameron,
Brodick, and many other well-known Celts. The hall was every-
where crowded, and many were unable to gain admission. The
programme was varied and interesting, and the proceedings through-
out hearty, and of the most enjoyable character.
With regard to Celtic work elsewhere, a few facts relative to
Celtic publications will illustrate its present activity. Mr. Archi-
bald Sinclair, of Glasgow, has just published his popular collection of
Gaelic songs An t-Oranaiche in a cheap handy form ; and Messrs.
Logan & Co., of Aberdeen and Inverness, are now publishing a
series of Gaelic songs with English translations, arranged with
symphonies and accompaniments for the pianoforte. The same firm
have acquired Captain Eraser's collection of Highland airs, and
re-issued it in handsome tartan binding. Mr. I^oble, bookseller,
Inverness, has published a revised edition of Mr. Lachlan Macbean's
Easy Lessons in Gaelic ; whilst Messrs. Maclachlan & Stewart, of
Edinburgh, have published the first part of a similar work by
Mr. D. C. Macpherson. Major Mackenzie, of Findon, has published
a series of Genealogical Tables of the Clan Mackenzie, and Mr.
Alex. Mackenzie, of the Celtic Magazine, a handsome volume on the
history of the same Clan. The latter gentleman is now publishing
a history of the Clan Macdonald, and proposes to re-issue shortly
General Stewart's Sketches of the Highlanders, bringing the history
of the Highland regiments down to date. A bulky and interesting
volume on " Loch Etive and the Sons of Uisneach " (said to be
written by Dr. Angus Smith, of Manchester), has recently been
published by Messrs. Macmillan & Co. ; and the same publishers
are preparing a volume on Celtic Literature, to form one of their
series of Literature Primers. Mrs. Mackellar, the Bard of our
Society, has a volume of her Gaelic and English poetry in the
press, which will be welcomed by a wide circle of readers ; and
the same may be said of a collection of Gaelic Proverbs and familiar
phrases, based on Mackintosh's collection, which is being issued
under the scholarly care of Sheriff Nicolson, of Kirkcudbright.
The Eev. Alex. Cameron, Brodick, proposes to publish a new
quarterly, to be called The Celtic Review; and altogether Celtic
scholarship in every department appears to be both active and
In all the large towns of the south, our countrymen have formed
themselves into organizations similar to our own ; arid in some
places notably in Glasgow they hold weekly meetings, at which
they not only discuss different questions affecting the welfare of the
Highlands, but also spend enjoyable evenings in illustrating the
song and the dance of our ancestors.
The out-door amusements of the Gael have also undergone a
revival, and Camanachd or Ionian appears to be the favourite
athletic game of our countrymen in the south.
Altogether the lover of Celtic matters has no reason to despond.
INVERNESS, Dec. 4, 1879.
SEVENTH ANNUAL ASSEMBLY.
The Seventh Annual Assembly of the Society was held in the
Music Hall, on Thursday, July 11, 1878. There was a large at-
tendance. The Chief of the Society, Mr. John Mackay, of Swan-
sea, was to have presided, but, to the great regret of all, he was
unable to attend. The following letter addressed by him to the
Secretary was at the outset read to the meeting :
" Eogart House,
"Swansea, 9th July, 1878.
" My dear Sir, I am grieved to have to tell that I am now
more than a week lying ill in bed, attended daily by a doctor, thus
precluding all hope of my being in my place at the Annual Assem-
bly of the Gaelic Society on the llth. 1 need not assure you how
deeply distressed I am at this disappointment. Seeing the impos-
sibility and hopelessness of attending in person, I send you by post
draft of the address I intended to deliver, that you may do with it
what you please. If it is thought worth to read it, perhaps Mr.
Murdoch may be persuaded to do so. He is ever ready to assist a
Highlander in distress. As you will see, the theme is a review of
the Society's work from its beginning to the present time credit-
able to the Society itself, and to the town in which it has its head-
" I am conscious of how imperfectly I related the good work done
by the Society, and the influence it exerted during its seven years
of existence ; but when it is considered that the relation was strung
together at different intervals on a sick bed, after all hopes of per-
sonal attendance had to be given up, I trust all imperfections and
omissions may be overlooked, and the will to do justice to the
patriotic 'work of the Society taken for the deed.
" Sincerely hoping the Seventh Annual Assembly may be a
2 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
great success, and give a farther impetus to the intelligent patriotism
of the members of the Society,
" I remain, my dear Sir,
" Yours very faithfully,
" JOHN MACK AT.
" William Mackenzie, Esq."
Mr. Murdoch then proposed that Captain Macra Chisholm, who
had so very excellently presided at the last celebration of the So-
ciety, should take the chair, which Captain Chisholm did amid loud
cheering. Around him on the platform were Provost Simpson,
Eev. A. Macgregor, M.A. ; Bailie Black ; Messrs. D. Sharp, Glas-
gow ; John Mackay, of Ben Eeay ; .D. A. Macrae, Monar ; E. Mac-
rae, Ardtulloch ; Dun Macrae, Ardantoul ; E. Macrae, Braintra ;
Huntly Eraser, Inverness ; Colin Chisholm, Namur Cottage ;
A. Mackenzie, Celtic Magazine; "Wm. Mackay, solicitor; Charles
Mackay ; J. Murdoch, of The Highlander, &c.
The Secretary, Mr. Wm. Mackenzie, announced apologies for
absence from Cluny Macpherson ; Sir Kenneth S. Mackenzie of
Gairloch ; Sir George Macpherson-Grant of Ballindalloch ; Lord
Keidhaven ; Mackintosh of Mackintosh; C. Eraser-Mackintosh, M..P. ;
Donald Mackay, Ceylon ; Thos. Mackenzie, Broadstone Park ; Angus
Mackintosh of Holme ; C. S. Jerram, Windlesham ; E. Mackintosh
of Eaigmore ; J. F. Campbell of Islay ; Dr. Charles Mackay ; Col.
Mackenzie oi Parkmount ; Bailie Macdonald, Aberdeen ; Major
Forbes, 78th Highlanders ; Walter Carruthers, of the Courier;
Charles Innes, solicitor ; P. Burgess, Drumnadrochit ; K. F. Mac-
rae, Achlorachan ; and A. G. Nicolson, Glasgow. The following
Gaelic telegram was also announced from Mrs. Mary Mackellar,
the bard of the Society : " Beannachd a' Bhaird do 'n Chomunn.
Duilich nach 'eil mi leibh. Sith agus pailteas, gradh agus solas
duibh ! "
The Chairman having made a few preliminary observations, a
party of ladies appeared on the platform and sang with good effect
" H6 'n clo dubh, b' fhearr am breacan."
The Chief's address was then read by Mr. Murdoch as fol-
We are met here this evening to celebrate the Seventh Annual
Assembly of this honourable and patriotic Society, which has now
entered into the outer ring of the mystical cycle of time the
seventh year of its duration. It has succeeded in doing a great
amount of good and earnest patriotic work among Highlanders at
home and abroad. It has aroused feelings of patriotism amongst
Annual Assembly. 3
all classes, which were well nigh becoming dormant. It has excited
to healthy action the minds of many true lovers of their fatherland,
who began to despair of the Highlands ever again being anything
more than a huge hunting ground and immense farms the abode
of Mmrods, shepherds, or debased mammon-worshippers. It has
animated the hearts of those patriots who uselessly gave themselves
up to lamentations upon the decay of all that was best, dearest, and
noblest in the past, who bewailed the loss of a population at once
the most loyal, the most law-abiding, and the bravest in any land,
who mourned over ths neglect and disuse of the language, poetry,
and music of their native country, and above all, and more than
all, who grieved with heartfelt sadness over the seeming divorce of
that grand old attachment that existed between chiefs and people,
and that caused the " Land of the Mountain and the Flood " to be
viewed with as intense a curiosity by strangers, as the extraordinary
profusion and diversity on its surface of all that is beautiful and
sublime in nature, commanded their unqualified admiration. All
this and more, has been effected by the action of the Gaelic Society
of Inverness. Since the establishment of this Society an impetus
has been given to Highland sentiment in a manner the most healthy,
such as it never before possessed or assumed in any previous period.
The desponding have been encouraged, the doubting have been re-
assured, the lukewarm have been stimulated, the generous have been
animated, while the croaker and the inimical have been put to
silence. The Language and the Poetry of the country have been
fostered, and made to hold up their venerable heads under its fos-
tering auspices. The music of the Highlands, once reputed barbar-
ous, has been popularised, and found to be simply delicious, even
in its wildest and weirdest strains. The general result has been
that a manly, healthy, active spirit has been aroused, an ardent de-
sire to forward measures for the benefit of all classes, high or low,
and more especially to cultivate the Language and Literature of the
Highlands, which to the utter disgrace of past generations of High-
landers had been so wofully neglected. Papers on these various
topics, interesting from every point of view, have been read, and
published in the " Transactions," which of themselves would do
credit to any society. Addresses have also been delivered by vari-
ous learned gentlemen, at the half-yearly meetings, of the deepest
interest to society at large, and affording enjoyment and recreation
of the most healthful kind to the people of Inverness, and to all
Highlanders wherever located a chain of circumstances which, a
few years ago, it would have been considered madness to attempt,
much less to believe possible to encompass. The Gaelic Society of
4 Gaelic Society of Inverness-
Inverness has deserved well of the country, and all true lovers of
Following in the train of this revival appeared " The High-
lander," devoting his service to the welfare of the people, preaching
to them, and teaching them the relative duties all members of a
prosperous community owe to each other, and are bound for the
common good and welfare of the State to concede to each other,
in order to be united, strong, useful, and happy ; holding aloft, with
all the fearlessness of his nature, the grand traditions of the past
as objects of reverence and example, to be moulded into the new
order of things about to be accomplished showing that the strength
of a community does not entirely lie in money-bags, nor in the pros-
perity of one or two of the less numerous classes, but in the general
prosperity of all ranks and degrees of men, and that in a well-ordered
community the peer and the peasant can exist side by side, and be
all the happier and better ; exposing, without fear of consequences, at
the bar of public opinion all that is antagonistic to real progress in
class legislation, all antiquated ideas, notions, and excesses in
feudalism, which are detrimental to the growth of a vigorous and
virtuous population in the Highlands ; encouraging the remnant
left of that once brave population to hold up their heads like their
forefathers in the days of other years, and be depressed no more, but
manfully seek for redress of their grievances directly from those who
have it in their power to grant it, and be neither curs nor moral
cowards in the face of the biggest and greatest in the land men of
like flesh and blood as themselves who will do the right thing
when properly influenced and advised.
We were not long exulting in the conduct of this champion
when another made his appearance upon the scene, visiting our
houses every month, with ever new and varied refreshments of the
daintiest kind History, Folklore, Legends, Poetry, and Music.
He, too, has a strong cudgel in his hand, which he wields like a
master, and surprised many by boldly asserting, without fear of con-
tradiction, that the " Highland crofter " was the most depressed,
oppressed, and repressed member of the great British nation ; that
there was neither " Poetry nor Prose " in his lot, that the time
had come either to ameliorate his condition or banish him for ever
to the backwoods of America, to add to the strength and power of
Brother Jonathan, or to assist Miss Columbia in her onward pro-
gress, and wipe away the stigma ever exposed to view on the bonnie
braes and hill-sides of Gaeldom. The refrain of this " ditty" has
been taken up and echoed from Land's End to John O'Groats, from
the Scotsman in Edinburgh to the Echo in London town, with a
bewildering, though diversifying, unanimity.
Annual Assembly. 5
The grievances complained of were admitted to be of long
standing, known to all, patent to all, acknowledged to be unde-
served mildly, and sometimes unmurmuringly, borne, and above
all, however much might may have overborne right, powder and shot
were never thought of as a means of redress, nor as instruments
of revenge. All honour to the brave population who know how to
endure without disgracing their bright escutcheon ! The time is at
hand when their case will have consideration. " The darkness of
to-day will issue in a brighter to-morrow." "Wait a little longer."
A third champion came upon the scene, more doughty still,
with a double-edged sword, as well as with a grey goose quill. He
took nobles, gentles, and simples captive, stormed strongholds,
castles, and halls ; nothing withstood him. Go on he would, was
welcomed by all, and sent away rejoicing. He was the champion
of the " Gaelic Language and Literature," as well as the champion
of all Gaelic-speaking people. When all others despaired of raising
the necessary funds for the establishment of a Celtic Chair, when
others attempted and failed, the fearless and gallant Blackie took
his crook and plaid, went forth upon his Gaelic crusade, and suc-
ceeded, after an arduous struggle, in securing more than he antici-
pated 12,000 for the endowment of a professorship of that
ancient and venerable language we all love so well. Such is the
reward of bravery and perseverance in a good cause. Such are a
few of the phases in modern history, the origin of which, date from
the banks of the Ness through the medium of the Gaelic Society.
There is yet another important event that must be mentioned
in passing, in connection with this Society and others of kindred
blood the introduction of Gaelic teaching in Highland Schools.
It is said that the pronunciation of English amongst the people of
Inverness has been, and is still justly noted for its intrinsic purity,
and for its being little, if at all, affected by such broad doric pro-
vincialisms as are everywhere impressed on the varieties of the
Lowland dialect. This comparatively correct and elegant English
you have acquired purer by far than that of most parts of England
itself is, by some, ascribed to the modelling influence of Cromwell's
soldiery when they were amongst you. The true reason and cause
of it are not so far to be sought, for it seems rather to have arisen,
and to be yet arising from the fact of your English being acquired,
not by lessons of imitation, but by and through the process of
translating from your mother tongue, the venerable Gaelic, a cir-
cumstance which conduces not to* a corrupt spoken language, but
directly to the pure English literature. It is said that the debatable
ground in the west of Ireland, between the Irish districts and the
6 Gaelic Socieiy of Inverness.
Anglo-Irish territories, exhibit the same phenomenon as Scotland
has in Inverness, for there is poured forth from the lips of the
peasantry an English so untainted hy brogue and provincialism as
would delight the ears of a master of orthoepy. In the nature of
things it must be so wherever the vernacular itself is properly
taught and the English learned through the vernacular, their idioms
contrasted, and their differences pointed out by a master teacher.
What about the " Gaelic Nuisance " now 1 It has fallen to
the ground, vainly hoping in its fall, like the Ostrich in its flight,
to escape the critical gaze, by the pretence of not seeing what any
unprejudiced person could not avoid seeing, as being the end and
aim of Gaelic teaching in Highland Schools. A mistake more
monstrous was never made by any body of sensible and enlightened
gentlemen, ministers of the Church of Scotland, men of education,
in whose hands the direction of education was placed by the
Government of the day, than was committed in the Highlands in
the 18th and part of the 19th century. All along the line, and
all the way along, the invariable plan was to ignore the vernacular,
and attempt to educate the youth through the medium only of a
language of which 'they absolutely knew nothing. They were
taught to read, not to comprehend, the book, or the words of which
it was composed, but to imitate sounds, and to repeat the deciphering
of signs belonging to a language of which they were totally ignorant,
but which they were supposed to be learning, and when they left
school they found themselves possessed of acquirements which they
were utterly incapable of turning to practical account. That was
not the way the Inverness people acquired such a correct and so
pure a hold of the English language and its pronunciation. The
important event alluded to having been accomplished (and in which
this Society, in conjunction with kindred Societies, may take a just
pride), it was very flattering that the Inverness people should have
joyfully and demonstratively acclaimed that event, and thanked
their learned M.P. for the manner in which he carried out and
negotiated the concession of Gaelic being taught in the public
schools of the Highlands wherever wanted, wherever needful. You
appreciated the virtue of the vernacular in your own education,
and the command it gave you in the proper appreciation and under-
standing of the English, and you hurled back to where it came
from the stigma of the "Gaelic Nuisance."
Another good thing done by the Society was the laying of a
basis for a Federation of Celtic Societies, as was done at the
" Mackintosh Demonstration " in April last, at which you celebrated
the Government concession of Gaelic being taught in the Highland
Annual Assembly. 7
Schools. In that you took the detached fragments of Celtic So-
cieties and united them, that they might pull together shoulder to
shoulder, in carrying on the noble work which you have so well
The great victory you then celebrated was partly your own
work, the work of various Societies, and, more than all, the work
of the Eight Kev. Dr. Maclauchlan and other able coadjutors.
Now, do not be alarmed at the title I have given the reverend
gentleman. I do not wish him to become a bishop. You know,
as a Highlander, I may be allowed to use a little hyperbole ; but
there is no exaggeration at all in the meaning I wish to convey to
you by calling him Eight Reverend, for of all the clergymen of the
Churches of Scotland Free or otherwise (I wish there was no dis-
tinction) he is, above all, the one who has done most for the culti-
vation and culture of our venerable language ; he, of all others, by
virtue of good work, by dint of labour and hard study, when it was
not fashionable to do it, contributed more than any other living
man to bring our native language into repute, knocked again
and again at the citadel gate, and finally, with the aid of Mr. Fraser-
Mackintosh, wrested victory from an unwilling oligarchy at a
moment when the smallest concession was almost despaired of a
victory no less real, no less useful, in fact much more useful, a
greater boon to Highland society at large than the repeal of the
Act proscribing the tartan, once the terror, now the delight, of the
Saxon himself. Who would have thought, seven years ago, that
the Parliament of Britain could be brought by the expression of
public opinion to concede even a grievance in Highland education.
Take courage, watch events, wait and keep your powder dry, for
other measures of great importance to the Highlands are looming
in the horizon. The long-wished boon is obtained ; let it be put
properly and thoroughly into play and practice, and before another
cycle of seven years shall have revolved we shall see Highland lads
and Highland lasses making greater progress in learning English,
acquiring such a pronunciation of it as may astonish even the
people of Inverness, and not only that, but their knowledge of the
language of their ancestors will, as well, be enlarged and perfected,
and their minds stored with all the noble traditions of the past.
"With renewed vigour, and redoubled ardour, youths of the
Highlands will go forth, as in days gone by, to carve a way for
themselves in the battle of life, more fully and better equipped for
the strife by being bi-lingual and tri-lingual, and, by their good
conduct, complete education, hardy habits, high moral principles,
acquire credit for themselves, while reflecting honour upon the loved
8 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
Fatherland. Permit me emphatically to say that Gaelic has teen
no " bar" to the advancement of the people. Gaelic is the key to
a Highlander's heart. If officers in Highland regiments would try
to speak Gaelic, they would secure more recruits, and Highland
regiments might indeed he national corps, and not the hybrids they
now are. Officers who speak Gaelic to Highland soldiers command
their affection like the late General MacBean, V.C., of the 93rd
Highlanders, an Inverness man. If Highland proprietors would
try to learn Gaelic, and speak it to their people, they would be
better liked. English is a " bar" to their advancement if they can-
not speak to those who pay them their rents. Let Highland pro-
prietors learn Gaelic and teach English. Gaelic in the hands of a
patriotic proprietor would be a powerful lever to induce the people
to improve their lands and dwellings in fact, it would represent
so much capital to him.
Property in the Highlands, as elsewhere, has its high duties as
well as its rights. In the Highlands, it may be said, that it has
more duties to perform in regard to the people than elsewhere, in-
as-much as it was by the valour and exceeding loyalty of the people
that estates had been preserved to so many families in the High-
lands for so many centuries, through all the vicissitudes of fortune,
and it is the undoubted duty of the Highland Chiefs, the heads of
these families, to show their gratitude to the descendants of those
noble retainers who shed their blood in the cause of these families,
by now training them in a better knowledge of husbandry, in ap-
plying to it the science and skill of the South, and causing them to
be brought to bear on every croft in the North. Practical educa-
tion in this department has been sadly neglected in the Highlands,
as much to the loss of the proprietors as to the detriment of the
people. The object of all education should be not less to excite the
desire for knowledge than to furnish the means of acquiring it. In
this respect, education in the Highlands has been greatly deficient.
Instruction in agriculture, in the management of stock, in common
chemistry as applied to soils, would facilitate the production of the
means of subsistence. A more secure tenure of the land occupied
by the peasantry would tend to make them industrious and respect-
able crofters, more diligent and more successful cultivators of the
soil ; but the effect of all such measures depends upon the spirit and
the manner in which they are entered upon, as well as the general
management with which they are conducted through a series of
years. Some Highland proprietors in recent years, notably the
noble Sutherland, the Mathesons, the Grants, have not only dis-
tinguished themselves by their considerate and kindly treatment of
A nnual A ssembly. 9
their peasant tenantry, but have shown how properties in the
Highlands can be improved, affording employment to the people,
dispensing benefits broadcast over the land, adding wealth and
stability to the State, and acquiring for themselves the respect of
all, and the affection of the people. These are benefactors in the
land, they build up a loftier population, they make men more
manly. Their influence passes like morning light from land to
land, and village and city grow glad. May this Society continue to
diffuse around it these influences and be a light in the Highlands to
guide the race in the path of social, moral, and intellectual progress,
until Highlanders everywhere shall be as distinguished for all the
virtues which are the flower and fruit of real civilization, as their
fathers were for the virtue of bravery and chivalry in the times
that are past. And in order to this, let us remember the noble and
brotherly motto of Clanna nan Gaidheal an guaillibh a' cheile.
The next speaker was the Kev. Mr. Macgregor. He said :
Fhir-suidh' Urramaich, a Bhantighearnan, agus a Dhaoin-
uaisle, Tha mi 'g iarraidh maitheanais oirbh, an uair a tha mi
'gabhail orm fein dithis dhaoine coire a thoirt am fianuis a' Cho-
muinn so air an oidhche nochd dithis dhaoine a tha cliuiteach agus
measail na'n inbh fein dithis dhaoine aig am bheil fior speis-cridhe
do na Gaidheil agus do'n Ghailig agus dithis a rinn dichioll nach
bu bheag gu bhi 'lathair an so an nochd, chum eolas fhaotuinn air
a' Chomunn so, agus chum am beachd d'an taobh a leigeadh ris gu
soilleir. Cha'n 'eil teagamh nach 'eil cuid a lathair 'san am, aig an
robh eolas o cheann bhliadhnaichean air ais air an da charaid chean-
alta so, eadhon Murachadh Ban, agus Coinneach Ciobair, leis am
miann a nis beagan a labhairt r'a cheile 'nur n-eisdeachd, mu na
cuisean air son am bheil sinn cuideachd 'san talladh so an uochd.
Thugaibh cluas, uime sin, do na fir.
Mur " Am bheil mo shuilean ga m' mhealladh, a Choinnich
Chiobair, an tusa da-rireadh th'an sol"
Coin. " Is ini gun teagamh, a Mhurachaidh Bhain. ach ciod fo'n
ghrein a thug an car so thusa, agus gun duil agad ris, an uair a
chunnaic mi an la roimh thu?"
M. " Thainig mi a dh-aon sgriob a dh'fhaicinn a' Chomuinn
so cruinn cuideachd, agus a shealbhachadh am fearas bheoil agus
an deasboireachd ; ach ciod a thug thusa, a Choinnich, co fad o d'
dhachaidh fein ? Is neonach gu'n do leig Seonaid air falbh thu leat
C. " Ma ta, a Mhurachaidh, cho-eignich na h-uiread de nith-
ibh mise chum an Goirtean-Fraoich fhagail aig an am so. Bha
mi deonach air Baile-cinn na Gaidhealtachd fhaicinn, agus mar an
10 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
ceudna Chomunn Gailig Iubhirnis,gu sonraichte an t-Ard-Albannach,
an Geilteachj agus an t-Uasal Ian Macaoidh, Fear-suidh' na cui-
deachd. Ach cha robh dull idir agam ri tighinn gus an d'rainig
Sir Seumas mi an la roimh, agus gus an dubhairt e, ' A Choinnich,
tha Feill na Cloimhe ann an Inbhirnis air a' leithid so de latha
agus feumaidh tu dol agus an tri cheud molt sin a reiceadh air mo
shonsa air an fheill.' "
M. " An do reic thu iad, ma ta, a Choinnich, a cheana?"
C. " Is mise a rinn sin agus a rinn gu maith e ; oir fhuair mi
cuig ceud punnd Sasunnach air son an tri cheud molt! Ach,
ochan ! a' Mhurachaidh, cha'n f hacas a leithid a dh-fheill riamh !
Na c^udan a' siubhal sios agus suas agus thall 'sa bhos a' suidh' -
a' seasamh a' cas-labhairt a' ciuin-chomhradh a nis a' gleadh-
raich a ris agus a' gluasad gun sgur air sraid na h-Eaglais, ach a'
gabhail fasgaidh, agus feudaidh e bhith rud beag air chor-eigin eila
anns an ard-thigh-osda far am faighear gach goireas a tha freagar-
rach air son fuachd agus teas air son ocrais agus tart agus air son
gach ni eile a tha feumail do mhac an duine. So agad, ma ta, an
seol air am bheil muinntir Feill-na-Cloimh' a' reiceadh agus a' cean-
nachadh mholt agus chaorach, uan agus olainn, agus ghoireasan gun
aireamh eile agus sin uile a' dol air aghaidh gun a bhi 'faicinn
aoin de na beathaichibh, no aoin smad de na stuthannaibh eugsamhla
sin a bha iad a' ceannachadh agus a' reiceadh ! Ubh ! Ubh ! b'i 'n
fheill neonach i gun teagamh ! Cha'n 'eil duil agam gu'm facas a
leithid ann an cearnaidh sam bith eile."
M. " Ach cia mar a reic thu na muilt, a Choinnich, air bhi
dhuit co aineolach air cleachdannaibh iongantach mhuinntir na
C. " Ma ta, innsidh mi sin dhuit, a' Mhurachaidh ; thachair
mi air meadhon na sraide air duin'-uasal coir a's aithne dhuit fein,
Fear Bhealach-nan-cabar, agus bha mi am breislich ciod a dhean-
ainn, no co ris a labhrainn mu na muilt aig mo mhaighstir, Sir
Seumas, an uair a labhair an duin' uasal so riurn, agus a' cur a laimh
air mo ghuallainn, thubhairt e, ' Nach tusa Coinneach Ciobair, Sir
Seumas, agus nach d'thainig thu a' reiceadh nam molt aig do
Mhaighstir air an fheill so ? An deachaidh agad, ma ta, air sin a
dheanamh 1 ' ' Ochan ! le'r cead, le'r cead, a' dhuin uasail ionmh-
uinn, cha reic mise gu brath iad 'san aite thubaisdeach so, oir cha'n
aithne tlhomh anam air an fheill, agus cha'n 'eil fios agam co ris a
dh' fhosgailinn nio bheul.' Ghrad-thionndaidh Fear-'Bhealaich air
a shail, sineicl e air duin'-uasal a thainig a nail 'na choinneamh, agua
dh' innis e dha aireamh, gne, nadar, aois, agus feobhas nam molt,
agus cheannaich e air ball iad."
Annual Assembly. 11
M. " Tha do shaorsa agad a nis, a Choinnich, chum gach ni
fhaicinn, agus chum curam a ghabhail de gach cuis a ghabhas Co-
munn Gailig Inbhirnis os laimh an nochd, agus thoir an aire, oir
cha bheag agus cha suarach na nithe a chi agus a chluinneas thu
air an f heasgar so, agus tha deagh-f hios agam gu'n tog iad do chridhe,
agus gu'n dean iad deich bliadhna ni's oige thu, a charaid."
C. " Gu dearbh, a Mhurachaidh, cha robh mi riamh ni'a
toilichte na tha mi an so an nochd ! Is solas do-labhairt do m'
chridhe a' chuideachd aluinn so fhaicinn, agus an t-urram mor 'fhao-
tainn a bhi re na h-uine so maille riu. Ach ciod iad na nithe son-
raichte a tha iad a' gabhail os laimh ! "
M. " Chuir thu ceist orm, a Choinnich, dean foighidinn agua
chi thu, oir gheibh foighidinn furtachd. Chuir thu ceist orm a
ghabhadh uine fhada chum a freagairt. Ach chum gu'n tuig thu e
Tha'n Chomunn eireachdail so a' gabhail os laimh gach cuis agus
cleachd, gach riaghailt agus reachd, a bhuineadh riamh do na Gaidh-
eil. Tha iad a' rannsachadh a mach gach saothair, obair, ceol,
bardachd, ceileir, piobaireachd, aithris, sean-f hocal, ur-sgeul, glic-
bhriathar, eideadh, armachd, breacan, suaicheantas, gairm-cath, in-
neal-cogaidh, teuchd, treubhantas, dillseachd, tairisneachd, teug-
mhail, agus mar sin sios, air son an robh na Gaidheil, o na ceud linn-
tibh, comharraichte. Tha'n Chomunn a' fiosrachadh gach ni mu na
Cinn-fheadhna, na Fineachan, agus na tuasaidean fuilteach a bha
eatorra mu na Cinn-chinnidh, an aireamh, an cumhachd an oigh-
reachdan, an sloigh, agus an dianiarrtais air buaidh a thoirt air aon
a' cheile le f aobhar geur a' chlaidheimh. Tha'n Chomunn so, mar an
ceudna, a' miannachadh, leis gach innleachd na'n comus, air an
f hirinn fhaotuinn a mach, mu gach cuis a bhuineas do na Gaidheil
mar chinneach gach eolas na'n comus a rannsachadh a mach mu
choirichean aosda, mu sheann leabhraichean, mu sgriobhannan a
rinneadh o chein, agus mu gach ni eile leis an do chomharraicheadh
na Gaidheil a mach mar chinneach, a bha eadar-dhealaichte o chin-
nich eile, le'n cleachdannaibh agus le'n canain. Chum na criche so,
f eumaidh an Chomunn a bhi foighidinneach, eudmhor, durachdach, a'
sgrudadh gach ait' agus ionaid a' siubhal a null agus a nail a thall
agus a bhos agus gun sgath, gun sgios, a bhi' geursgrudadh gach
feart, heart, agus firinn gu'm bunait, agus leo so, a bhi 'carnadh suaa
an eolais a gheibh iad, chum gu'm hi e air a theasairginn o thir na
dichuimhne. Cha bheag an' obair so, a ghraidh narn fear, agua
cha bheag an dichioll agus an gliocas an innleachd agus an t-seol-
tachd, a dh' fheumar a chleachdadh chum an obair a thoirt gu crich."
C. " Ubh ! Ubh ! a Mhurachaidh, tha thu a' cur iongantaia
12 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
M. " Mise a' cur iongantais ort, a charaid ! Cuir thusa an
t-srathair air an each cheart, agus abair gur e Cbomunn Gailig Inbhir-
nis a tha cur iongantais ort, agus nach mise. Cba d' ainmich mise
darna leth nan cuspair a th' aig a' Chomunn so 'san amharc. Tha
eachdraidh agus tilidheachd na Feinne, seann sgeulacbdan, taibh-
searacbd, druidheachd, geasachd, leannana-sithe, agus na miltean
nithe leithidean sin gu bhi air am min-fhiosrachadh mar a chleach-
dadh iad 's na h-amannaibh a dh' f halbh. Tha gun teagamh, a Choin-
nich, agus mar an ceudna, cleachdanna nan teaghlaichean na'm far-
daichibh fein o shean. Leigeadh so a ris air mhodh taitneach leis
an duine mhacanta, uasal, agus f hoghluimte sin Mac 'Ille Mhicheil,
ann an Creag-Ghoraidh, 'na oraid ghrinn do na h-Uidhistich :
' Air oidhch' fhada gheamhraidh,
Theid a tionndadh gu gniomh ;
A' toirt eolais do'n chloinn,
Bithidh gach seann duine liath ;
An nighean a' cardadh,
A' mhathair a' sniamh,
An t-iasgair le' shnathaid,
A' caradh nan lion.' "
C. " Eo mhaith, ro mhaith, a Mhurachaidh, mo mhile bean-
nachd air Mac 'Ille Mhicheil, is maith a mhinich e gnathas an teagh-
laich sin. Tha duil agam gu'm bheil mi faicinn an duine aosda,
choir, a' teagasg na cloinne ann an oisinn de'n t-seomar agus anna
a' chuil ud thall, tha'n nighean, le 'fallus ga dalladh, a' sgriobadh
nan card, 's a' deanamh nan rolag. Chithear an t-seana-bhean air
an taobh eile, a' srannail air a' chuibhil-sniamhaidh, a' deanamh an
t-snath, agus balach an eisg ah* an culaobh, le cuaill lion-sgadain, a'
caradh nan toll."
M. " Tha sin uile gle bhoidheach agus gle nadurra air a thoirt
fa chomhair suil na h-inntinn, a Choinnich, ach cha b' urrainn duil
a bhi ri chaochladh o laimh chumhachdaich Chreag-Ghoraidh, a
chuireas an comhnuidh rogha caoin air gach sgeul agus comhradh.
Ach mu'n Chomunn so, a Choinnich, cha'n 'eil ni 'sam bith aca
anns an amharc, a tha a reir mo bharail-sa, co cudthromach air gach
seol, ri eolas a chumail, agus a mheudachadh air cainnt urramaich
agus mhaisich nan Gaidheal. Is i a' Ghailig a' chanain a's sine,
a's boidhiche, agus a's druidiche a tha ga labhairt, feudaidh e bhith,
air uachdair an t-saoghail ! Tha i 'na priomh-f hreumh do gach canain
eile, agus tha i gu h-iomlan oirdheirc. Mar a thubhairt am bard :
' Ma tha canain air thalamh,
Bhios 'ga labhairt am flaitheas,
Tha moran 'sa bharail
Gur i a' Ghailig an te sin.' "
Annual Assembly. 13
C'. " Ochan a' righ ! is mi tha sona an nochd ! Mo chreach !
nach robh Seonaid an so, is i a bhiodh aighearach ! Ach, a' Mhura-
chaidh, ma's beo Seonaid agus mise gu bliadhn' eile, thig sinn dh'ionn-
suidb na h-ath choinneamh ged a chosdadh e an gearran donn
domh ! Gu robh buaidh leis a' Chomunn ionmhuinn air tad, agus
gu robh gach buaidh leis a' Cheannfeadhna urramach, a tha 'lionadh
na caithreach ud co freagarrach an nochd. Eachadh an Chomunn
air an aghaidh mar a rinn iad o'n thoisich iad agus le beannachd,
fasaidh iad laidir, bliadhn' an cleigh bliadhna. Fasaidh gun tea-
ganih ; agus faic so, a' Mhurachaidh choir, cha'n f hag sinn am baile,
gus am bi thu fein agus mi fein air ar deanamh 'nar buill de Cho-
munn Gailig Inbhirnis. Ochan ! cha'n fhag, agus am measg ion-
gantais an t-saoghail, co aig am bheil brath, nach fheud mi a bhi
beo, gus am faic mi mo charaid Murachadh Ban 'na shuidhe gu
h-ard 'sa chaithir ud na cheann-feadhna air Chomunn Gailig
M. " Sguir dhe d' ghoileam agus dhe d' bhaothaireachd, Fhir
a' Ghoirtein Fraoich, air neo cha bhi sinn reidh ; ach a thaobh na
thubhairt thu mu thimchioll sinne a bhi 'nar buill dhe'n Chomunn
so, bithidh mi anabarach toilichte air sin, oir is taitneach an ni do
dhuine a bhi ann an deagh chuideachd, oir le sin tha araon an inn-
tinn agus a' choluinn eadhon an duine gu h-iomlan, a' faotuinn ath-
urachaidh agus neirt. Feumaidh an inntinn faochadh agus f ois co
maith ris a' chorp, agus riaraichear iad maraon anns a' chuideachd
C. " Cha'n 'eil duil agam gu'm bheil Chomunn Gaidhealach eile
'san rioghachd air fad co tuigseach, caidreach, agus cairdeil ris a'
Chomunn so ach ciod ido bharail-sa mu so, a' Mhurachaidh T'
M. " Tha na Communna Gaidhealach lionmhor anns an Eilean
Bhreatunnach, a' Choinnich, ach a reir mo bheachd-sa, bheir an
Chomunn so barr orra uile. Einn Chomunn Gailig Inbhirnis rud no
dha a chosnas cliu dhoibh re linntean ri teachd."
C " Ochan, a' Mhurachaidh, gu robh mile beannachd air a'
Chomunn so, agus gu robh gach ni ag eirigh leo gu brath."
M . " Is gleusda a, labhair thu, a Choinnich, ach ceadaich dhomh
foighneachd dhiot An do chuir thu fathast eolas air neach sonraichte
sam bith dhe'n Chomunn, no an robh thu a comhradh ri aon idir
C. " Feudaidh mi a radh nach robh, a Mhurachaidh, ach is e
mo shaidealtachd fein bu choireach. Chunnaic mi triuir dhiubh
cuideachd air an t-sraid, agus ma chunnaic, b' iad na suinn aluinn
iad ! Thilg mi mo shuilean air fior-charaid nan Gaidheal, an t-Ard-
Albannach ionmhuinn, agus Ochan ! b'e 'n gille e ! Bha e co sgiob-
14 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
alta, baganta, cuimear, le' bhreacan-an-fheile, 's le 'bhonait ghuirm,
leathainn mar ghroideil. Chunnaic mi, mar an ceudna, an Ceilteach
agus da-rireadh, cha b'e 'm monar e duine suairce soiraeach
somalta ceatharnach treun dileas, cairdeil 'na ghiulan agus
duine, a reira' choslais, aig am bheil f eartan inntinn, agus buaidhean
coluinn, foghainteach annta fein, chum na ruintean sin, as miann leis
eiridinn, a thoirt gu crich. Mo thruaigh an ti air an deanadh e greim,
agus fearg air oir gu dearbh cha b f hurast a' dhruim a chur ri
lar ! Ach co a chunnaic mi, mar an ceudna, ach ar caraid an Seann
Sgiathanach bochd, agus ma chunnaic, b'e sin an creutair iosal,
cutach duinneachan ro bheag, a tha co leathann 'sa tha e co fad.
Tha e tuigh, cruinn, gramail, mai 1 bharailte-sgadain, agus gun a bhi
a' bheag n'is airde ! Tha a cheann leth-mhaol le neoni fuilt thana,
Jiath-ruadh, a' casadh suas. Cha mhor nach duiriginn dorn dha air
son cho minic 'sa chuir e thusa agus mise ann an sgornanaibh a cheile
agus an deigh sin, bha gne speis agara dha dh'aindeoin cuise. Tha
duil aige, feudaidh e bhith, gum bheil mabalaich Gailig aige, ach
cuimhnicheadh e, gur e an duil a mhill a' bhantighearna agus ma
their e a' bheag 'ga ardachadh fein, thugadh e fainear gur lionmhor
greim a thug e do'n bheul a tha 'ga mholadh."
M. " ! a Choinnich, is iongantach an duine thu, agus mo
lamhsa ! gu'rn bheil deagh fhios aig Seonaid choir nach fhurast air
uairibh do chumail air do sheol ; ach ge b'oil le d' fhiaclan e, cuniaidh
mise air do chriochaibh fein thu. Ach, am bheil thu riaraichte leis
a' Chomunn a nis, agus am bheil thu deonach air dol mu thamh car
C. " Cha'n 'eil, a' Mhurachaidh, oir dh'fhanainn seachduin air
a ceann maille ris a' Chomunn cheanalta so, agus cha 'n f hag mi
an talladh an nochd, gus am faic mi am ball mu dheireadh dhe'n
chuideachd a niach air an dorus-mhor. Tha moran eile, a bhuineas
do'n Chomunn so, bu ro mhaith learn f haicinn, mar a tha an t-Olamh
Blackie le 'cheann liath le 'chosaibh caol, 's le chnaimh-droma
cho subailt ris on easguinn ! Bhiodh e taitneach, mar an ceudna,
sealladh fhaotuinn dhe Tighearna Chluainidh Tearlach Friseal-
Mac-an-Toisich Sir Coinneach Ghearrloch agus dhe gach Ceann-
feadhnadh a bha thairis air a' Chomunn so, o'n dhealbhadh iad an
toiseach. Tha mi 'faicinn seann Chailein Siosal a lathair, agus c'ait
am bheil diulnach a bheir barr air fhathast, air son durachd, eud,
agus tairisneachd, a thaobh gach ni a bhuineas do na Gaidheil ! Gu
ma fada beo an treunlaoch blathchridheach, cinneadail ! Ann an
aon fhocal, is maith agus is taitneach a' chuideachd gu leir a tha
lathair an so an nochd agus f had s' is beo Murachadh Ban agus
Coinneach Ciobair, cha di-chuimhnich iad gu brath an fhior-thoil-
Annual Assembly. 15
inntinn a thugadh dhoibh leis a' Chuideachd so agus cha diobair
iad, uile laiihean am beatha, gun a bhi 'cur cliu Chomunn Gailig In-
bhirnis ann am farsuingeachd air feadh na tire, fhad's 'sa bhios
comus aca an teangannan a ghluasad. Ochan ! slan leibh, Fhir-suidh
urramaich, a 1 Bhantighearnan, agus a' Chuideachd aluiunn gu leir,
agus gu robh gach buaidh agus beannachd maille ruibh a nis, agus
' Mile beannaclid, mile buaidh
Air Comunn Uaislean mo ruin ;
Cha snisnich Breatunn le fiamh
'S sibhse mar dhion air a cul.
Thog Albainn a ceann le h-uaill ;
Dh' f huasgladh a' (Jhailig a snuim ;
Tha coir aig gach saorsainn gu feum,
Aig Sliochd Ghaidheal nam beus grinn ! ' "
At the conclusion of his address, Mr. Macgregor suggested that
Captain Chisholm should favour the meeting with a tune on the
bagpipes, a proposal which completely electrified the audience, Cap-
tain Chisholm's accomplishments as a bagpipe-player being evidently
well known to the most of those present. The Captain complied,
and played a reel, to which four gentlemen in Highland costume
danced. The performance was greatly appreciated, and was received
with loud applause. Those who took part in the dance gave other
reels the Highland Fling, the Reel o' Tulloch, &c. in course of
the evening, and were, on every appearance, heartily encored. The
dancers were Pipe-Major Ferguson, Inverness Rifle Volunteers ;
Mr. James Reid, High Street ; Mr. Robert Ma^hardy, Church
Street ; and Mr. Hugh Mackenzie, Castle Street.
The programme of music was an attractive one. A party of a
dozen young ladies, under the leadership of Mr. John Whyte, sang
Gaelic songs and choruses in a most pleasing manner, and were on
each appearance received with cordial applause. There were Gaelic
solos by Mr. Donald Graham, Glasgow, whose style is clear and
effective ; and English and Gaelic songs by Mr. J A. Robertson,
who sang " Scots wha hae," " The Macgregor's Gathering," and a
new Gaelic song " Theid i 's gu'n teid i learn," with much expression
and taste. Mr. Robertson and Miss Young sang a Gaelic duet,
" Ho r<5, mo Nighean Donn Bhoidheach," in a manner that secured
for them a hearty encore. A most delightful feature in the musi-
cal programme was the appearance of Miss Libbie Watt, who sang
in a charming manner " Cam' ye by Athole," and " Whistle and
I'll come to you, my lad," and was on both occasions encored.
16 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
Mr. Mackay, of Ben-Reay, followed the Chairman's example,
at the request of the Chair, and afforded the audience a treat,
which they greatly appreciated, by singing " The Piper o' Dun-
dee." The piano and harmonium accompaniments to all the
singers were given by Miss Georgina Mackintosh, Douglas Row,
in a manner which elicited general praise. During the assem-
bling of the meeting, and at intervals throughout the evening,
several selections on the bagpipes were played by Pipe-Majors Mac-
lennan and Ferguson, Sergeant Urquhart, and Piper Peter Maclean.
The party of singers consisted of Miss Young, Huntly Street ;
Miss Alexandrina Macdonald, Armadale Cottage, Greig Street ;
Miss Jessie Macdonald, Gilbert Street ; Miss Maggie Mackintosh,
Douglas Kow ; Miss Maclaren, Drummond ; Miss Noble, Lombard
Street ; and Miss Mary Macrae, Hill Street.
At the close, Mr. D. Sharp, President of the Glasgow Highland
Association, expressed pleasure that his first visit to Inverness
should be associated with this grand Highland gathering. He now
had six years experience of Highland gatherings, having presided
at many since the origin of the Glasgow Highland Association, and
he could assure them that he had never seen one that pleased him
more than the one which he had witnessed that evening. He asked
a hearty vote of thanks to all who had contributed to the evening's
entertainment the singers, the dancers, the speakers, the pipers, and
the young lady who presided at the piano. (Applause.)
Provost Simpson moved a cordial vote of thanks to Captain
Chisholin for his conduct in the chair. Captain Chisholm, like a
true Highlander, came ever to the front, and so to-night in the
much-regretted and unavoidable absence of then 1 esteemed Chief, he
had come to take his old place in the assemblies of the Gaelic
Society. He had come to the chair unwillingly certainly, but with
the very greatest satisfaction to all who had the pleasure to sit
under him. He would not say more in Captain Chisholm's pre-
sence, but he would ask for him a very hearty and true Highland
cheer. (Loud cheers.)
The Chairman briefly acknowledged the compliment, and, on
the suggestion of the Provost, and amid great applause, he played
on the pipes " Johnnie Cope" as a parting tune.
The arrangements for the meeting were under the charge of the
Secretary. " Not a solitary hitch," says The Highlander, "occurred
during the evening to mar the proceedings," and altogether every-
thing went off in a most enjoyable manner.
Subjoined is a copy of the programme :
Annual Assembly. 17
Gaelic Song" Ho 'n Clo Dubh" Party.
Address The Chief.
Scotch Song " Macgregor's Gathering"- Mr. J. A. Robertson.
Dance " Highland Fling" Oganaich Ghaidhealach.
Gaelic Song " Och6in a Eigh gur a mi tha muladach" Mr.
Donald Graham, Glasgow.
Scotch Song " Cam' ye by Athole" Miss Libbie Watt.
New Gaelic Song " An Gaidheal 'sa Leannan" Mr. J. A.
Gaelic Song " Oran do Chaiptean Siosal " le Mairi Nic-Ealair
Interval of Ten Minutes Bagpipe Music.
Gaelic Song " H6-ro Eileanaich ho gii" Party.
Gaelic Address Eev. Alex. Macgregor, Inverness.
Scotch Song "Whistle and I'll come to you, my Lad" Miss
Gaelic Solo and Duet " Ho r6 mo Nighean Donn Bhoidheach"
Miss Young and Mr. Robertson.
Dance " Eeel of Tulloch" Oganaich Ghaidhealach.
Gaelic Song " Mairi Bhan Dhail-an-Eas" Mr. Donald Graham.
Scotch Song " Scots wha hae" Mr. J. A. Eobertson.
Concluding Song " theid sinn, theid sinn le sugart agus aoidh"
GTH NOVEMBER, 1878.
At the meeting on this date, it was resolved to join the Feder-
ation of Highland Societies. Mr. Alex. Mackenzie and Mr. William
Mackay (whom failing Mr. John Murdoch) were appointed to re-
present the Society at the Federation Meeting in Glasgow, on 20th
13iH NOVEMBER, 1878.
At this meeting, some discussion took place on the Federation
question, with the view of communicating to the delegates the
opinion of the Society thereanent.
The prevailing opinion was that the objects of the Federation
should be literary aiul educational, and that politics should be
18 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
always avoided ; and the delegates were instructed to see that the
objects of the Federation should be in no material way out of har-
mony with the constitution of this Society.
Captain 1ST. Scobie, Fearn, was elected a life member ; whilst
' the following were elected ordinary members : Miss Cameron, of
Innseagan, Fort- William ; Captain Cash, adjutant, E. E. V., Ding-
wall ; James Cluues, Nairn ; Duncan Sharp, Keppoch Hill, Glas-
gow ; R A. Macdonald, Ullinish, Skye ; A. D. Campbell, Kirkin-
tilloch ; Paul Campbell, shoemaker, Bridge Street, Inverness : Geo.
Fraser, clerk, Caledonian Bank do. ; Murdo Maclennan, carpenter,
Shore Street do. ; Robert Fergusson, teacher, Raploch, Stirling ;
Alex. Mackenzie, architect, Glasgow ; Charles A. Walker, Ord, Eoss-
shire ; Sergeant D. Macpherson, Chapel Street, Inverness ; D.
Crawford, Otterferry, Tighnabruaich ; Angus Mackenzie, Waverley
Hotel, Inverness ; Alex. Mackay, labourer, Eaigmore ; Eoderick
Macdiarmid, teacher, Portnahaven, Islay ; P. A. C. Mackenzie,
52 Marquis Eoad, Camden Square, London ; and Eoderick Mac-
lennau, 14 Douglas Street, Glasgow.
20TH NOVEMBER, 1878.
Dr. David Tulloch, Helmsdale, and D. Cameron, velocipede
maker, Dempster Gardens, Inverness, were elected ordinary mem-
bers at the meeting on this date.
Some routine business having been transacted, the Secretary,
Mr. William Mackenzie, read a paper entitled
LEAVES FEOM MY CELTIC POETFOLIO.
He said At the request of several members of the Society, I
am to give you to-night a further selection from my Celtic Portfolio.
Two series of these papers have already appeared in our Transac-
tions. With these, I have no doubt, all members interested in
such matters are already familiar, and it is therefore unnecessary for
me to precede the present selection with any introduction further
than to say that it is exactly of the same character as the former
In the first series, I gave a fragment of a Duanag (page 57), in
connection with togail nan creach. As I mentioned there, I heard
* For the first and second series of these " Leaves," vide Volume VII.,
pages 52 and 100.
Leaves from my Celtic Portfolio. 19
its authorship attributed in the west of Boss-shire to Alasdair
Sgolair, and in Inverness-shire to Domlmull Donn Mac Fhir Bhotli-
fhionntainn. Since the publication of our last Volume, my valued
poetical correspondent, Mr. F. D. Macdonell, late of Plockton,
writes me from New Zealand, saying that the author is neither of
these worthies, /but " Coinneach Dubh Mac Dhon'-'ic-Coinnich."
He at the same time sends me what appears to be a complete copy
of the song, which I give along with his prefatory note :
The authorship of the following duanag is attributed by some
to Domlmull Donn, a contemporary of Iain Lorn ; but the legitimate
author was Coinneach Dubh. His sister was grandmother to the
famous Ruaraidh 'n lomaire, a gentleman and a scholar, eloquent
and ready-witted, and well-versed in the history and genealogy of
the Highland Clans, who died at Achamore. Lochalsh, about fifty
years ago. The song was composed to gall a certain band of
Lochaber Ccaf.fi arnaich, or cattle-lifters, who on more than one
occasion ravaged the folds of some of the author's friends. It may
be mentioned here that cattle-lifting in those days was by no means
reckoned dishonourable, although sheep-stealing was held infamous,
and visited with the utmost severity.
Chorus. Faodaidh 'fear bhios fuar, falanih,
Cruaidh, smearail, foinnidh, fearail,
Fead a thoirt an cluais balaich,
Mur a bi e reidh ris.
Thoir fios gu taobh thall nan Garbh chrioch,
'n 's ni e 'chordas ri 'm mheanmuinn,
Gu'n thoisich taobh tuath na h- Albainn
Air marbhadh a ch&le.
Faodaidh 'fear, &c.
Fios gu Eoghann, fios gu Ailean,
'S fios gu Domlmull Ban an CailKch,
Ciod an truaighe 'chum aig bail' iad,
'Sa' ghealach air iridh ?
Faodaidh 'fear, &c.
Clann-a'-Phi agus Clann-Uaraig,
Ciod e 'n aon ni a chum uainn iad ?
'S mi fhein 's Cloinn Liodar nan cuaran
'An guaillibh a che"ile.
Faodaidh 'fear, &c.
20 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
Tha Maolanaich arm an Arcaig,
'S bu mhath gu slaodadh nan creach iad,
'S fhad 's a mhaireas ni aig Cataich,
Cha bhi ac' ach leum air.
Faodaidh 'fear, &c.
'Sann mu dha thaobh Baile-Domha
Tha na fir nach faoin ri clomhadh,
'S bheir iad aomadh air na Rothaich,
Fhad 's a gheibhear spreidh aca.
Faodaidh 'fear, &c.
Xa 'n gabhadh na cruachan ioman
Mar ghabhadh crodh Cille-Chuimein,
Bheireadh sinn air bodaich Mhoraidh,
Gu'm biodh dolaidh beidh orra.
Faodaidh 'fear, &c.
Gu 'n mharbhadh bean uasal thapaidh
Ann an tuasaid o chionn seachduin,
'ri faodaidh sibhse crodh 'us capuill,
Thoirt dhachaidh 'n a h-e'irig.
Faodaidh 'fear, &c.
Tha crodh a's eich air an leathad
Aig bodaich nach dean an gleidheadh,
'S mur b 'e dhomhsa bhi mo laidhe,
Dheanainn rathad reidh dhoibh.
Faodaidh 'fear, &c.
I will now present you with two songs of a very different type.
They are the composition of John Campbell, Ledaig, Oban the
hero of Professor Blackie's pretty verses, entitled " The House of
the Bard." The first pictures to us the Highlander in a distant
land, while in the second we have a graphic account of the thoughts
that stir his breast as he returns homewards.
AN GAIDHEAL *AN TIE CHEIN.
Is trie mi cuiinhneach air tlr mo dhuthchais,
Air tlr nam beanntan 's nan gleanntan iirar ;
Air tlr nan sgairnichean arda, ruisgtc,
Nan creagan corrach, 's nan lochan dughorm.
Leaves from my Celtic Portfolio. 2.1
Air sruthain chaisleach nan caran lubach,
Ei mire 's gleadhraich feadh bhac is stuchdan ;
No 'ruith gu samhach 'sa' ghleannan chiuin ud
'S an doire challtuinn gu teann 'g an dunadh.
An eidheann dhuallach mar sgail-bhrat uaine,
'S a' Gheamhradh 's fuaire fo shnuadh a' fas,
'S i 'dion le 'sgiathan nan ard-chreag liath ud,
Mar gu 'm b'e h-iarrtas an cumail blath.
An tonn ri cr6nan air cladach comhnard,
Le morbban b6idheacb 'toirt cool gu reidh ;
No 'g eiridh suas dhuinn le toirm an uambais,
'S an cath na chuartaig 'g a sguab' do'n speur.
Sud tlr a' chairdeis 's an d' fbuair mi m' arach,
Far 'm bheil a' Ghailig is aillidh fonn,
'S i thogadh m' inntinn 'n uair bhithinn tursach,
'Sa dh' fhagadh sunndach mo chridhe trom.
Is trie a thionndaidb mi air mo chulaobh,
'N uair chluinnin dluth i air sraid nan Gall ;
Mo cbridhe dh'^ireadh mar aiteal greine,
'Thoirt siiil a' m' dheigh dh'fheucb co bbiodh ann.
Is ged a shealladh na Gaill a sios oirnn
'N uair bhitheamaid direacb o thlr nam beann ;
Fo 'n chairt is suarraiche 's trie a fhuaireas,
Am fiodh is luachmhoire am measg nan crann.
'Si sud an duthaich a thog na fiurain,
Bha gaisgeil, cliuiteach, bha iulmbor, treun,
A slieasadh Ikidir a dhion gacb. cas leinn,
'S gu brath nach d' fhailnich an la an fheum.
Tha 'n gaisgeadh ainmeil is trie a dhearbht e,
Air tlr 's air fairge, an cath 's an stri ;
B' iad luchd an fh^ilidh gu brath nach geilleadh,
Fhad 's ruitheadh deur do fhuil r^idh nan crldh'.
22 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
'Si 'n fhlor fhuil uasal o thlr nam fuar bheann
A bhiodh 's a' ghruagaich d' an tugainn speis ;
T<$ bhruidhneadh blath rium 's a' chanain aluinn
Bu ro mhath thathadh ar gradh r'a ch<}ir.
'S a chaoidh cha chaochail an tlus tha 'm thaobhsa
Do m' thlr 's do m' dhaoinibh a b' aobhach learn,
'S cha leig air dlchuimhn' gach comhairl' phrlseil,
Thug teachdair dlleas na firinn dhuinn.
A's ged a ruiginn-sa cul nan Innsean,
'S gach eilean rlomhach 's na tlrean thall :
'S ann ann a' m' dhuthaieh a ghuidhean m' uir bhi
J !N" uair bhiodh mo shuilean 'g an dunadh teann.
'S nio chead 's an uair so do thlr nam buadh ud,
'S mo bheannachd buan leis an t-sluagh tha ann,
'S an cliu a f huair sinn o linn ar sinnsir,
Gu ceann ar crlche nach dealaich ruinn.
AN QAIDHEAL AIR TILLEADH GU 'DHUTHAICH TH1B CHEIN.
's iomadh bliadhna 'tha nis air iadhadh
Mo cheann air liathadh, 's mo chiabhag ban
Bho'n laidh mo shuil-s' ort a thir mo dhuthchais,
Is sealladh cuil ghabh bho chul mo shail I
Na creagan arda 's gach cnocan aluin,
Tha mar a dh'fhag mi iad air am bonn,
Ach luchd mo ghraidh-sa a chuireadh failt' orm,
Cha'n 'eil an aireamh a nis ach gann.
'N am fardaich fhialaidh, bha tlus is biadh ann
Do 'n choigreach chianail le thuras sgith ;
'Se feidh a's caoirich tha 'n diugh r'a fhaotuinn,
Is luchd mo ghaoil-sa tha fad o 'n tir.
Is gur fasail an diugh gach larach,
'S an robh mo chairdean-sa uile cruinn
A chuid chaidh fhagail le maoir 's le baiiuin,
Gu'n d'thug am bas iad gu aite taimh.
Leaves from my Celiic Portfolio. 23
Is iomadh kite 's an robh mo thamh-sa,
Is iomadh duthaich 's an robh. mo chuairt,
Ach mar a thearnadh a' ghrian 's an iarmailt,
Mo chridh' bha 'g iarraidh gu tir mo shluaigh.
Ciod am feum a tha nis dha m' storas,
ciod an solas a gheibh mi ann,
'S an dream le 'n d' shaoil mi a chaitheadh comhl' riu,
Ochdin mo Ie6nadh tha iad air chall !
cha'n 'eil dachaidh 'n taobh bhos do 'n bhas dhuinn
's briste an cairdeas tha 'n taobhsa 'n uaigh I
Far an saoil sinn bheil sonas lamh ruinn,
'Se sin an t-aite 'san fhaid' e bhuainn.
Ach Thusa chuidich 'sa chum a suas mi,
'Thug as gach cruaidh-chas mi 'n robh mi 'n sas
Lub fein mo chridhe gu d' ghradhsa iarraidh,
'S tu 'n caraid sioraidh inch treig gu brath.
I will follow these up with an old Gaelic Love Song. The
metre employed, it will be seen, is not one that is used by modern
versifiers. I do not know who composed it ; but, perhaps, some
member of the Society may throw light on the matter.
'S trom learn m' imeachd gach lo,
'S nach imich mi rod d'am beil m' aoidh,
'S nach imich mi rod d' am beil m' aoidh,
Ni 'n gluais mo chridhe mo choin,
Cha togair learn fonn ach caoidh.
Fonn cha tog dh' iom mo sprochd,
Fo gach aon ni ach osna 's deur,
Fo gach aon ni ach osua 's deur,
Ged a tharladh mi 'n diugh fo ghruaim,
Ghabhainn uair le fearas-theud.
Ri teud cha'n oisdear ri m' linn,
Cba bhinn learn aigbear ach bron,
Cha bhinn ]eam aighear ach bron,
Ni 'm beil mo leigheas an dan,
Mur faighear leam trath do ph6g.
24 Gaelic Society of Inverness
Do phog mo leigheas a ta,
Na 'm faighinn dhiubh dha no tri,
!Na 'm faighinn dhiubh dha no tri,
Od' dheala-bhriot o 'm beurtha buaidh
Cion gu la-luain thug mi.
'S mi gu'm beil ort an deidh,
'Nighean nan reidh rosg mall,
'.Nighean nan reidh rosg mall,
'S gur e dh' fhag m' aigneadh an eis
Miad mo dheidh air do chorp seang.
Do chorp seang, mo gradh an t-aoidh,
An te nach labhair maoin a lochd,
An te nach labhair maoin a lochd,
'Bha tuigseach, foighideach, h'al,
Cha'n aithnicht' ardan fiarais ort.
Ort mar dhreach lilidh do ghruaidh,
'S maiseach do shmiadh, 's geal do dheud,
'S maiseach do shnuadh, 's geal do dheud,
Do shlios mar eala nan spog.
Beul mcachair nach toisich breug.
Breug cha ghluais an te tha ceart,
'S tu mo chraobh fo dhealt 's a' Mhaigh,
'S tu mo chraobh fo dhealt 's a' Mhaigh,
Gur tu m' aighear 's mo chruit-chiuil,
'S mo gheug abhail ur fo bhla.
Do bhla mar chanach an fheoir,
'S tu 'n eala ri ceol a ghnath,
'S tu 'n eala ri ceol a ghnath,
Do shlios mar fhaoileig nan tonn,
bhonn gu 'mhullach a ta.
Tha thu gun chron cumaidh,
d' mhullach gu barr do bhroig,
Ailteachd bhan uile,
d' mhuineal gu barr do mheoir,
Cul fainneach buidhe,
'S do rughadh air dhreach an oir,
Agus deud dhluth, chailceach,
Mar ghrein a lasadh 's na neoil.
Leaves from my Celtic Portfolio.
Do neul, 's do chumadh,
Thug urram air each gu lorn,
Gruaidh chiatach, ruiteach,
Gun eucoir druidte ri d' chom,
Beul beusach, tuigseach,
Mar theudan druidte ri fonn,
Mo ghleus air tuiteam,
'S nach fheud mi uchdach ach troih.
The next verses I will present to you are on the choice of a
companion " Mo roghainn companaich." I neither know their
author nor their date ; but their merit entitles them to a corner
Is e so companach an aigh,
An companach a b' aill learn fein ;
Am fear a bheireadh dhomh gu saor,
'S g'an taomaiun mach mo chridhe fein.'
Do'n innsinnse gun sgath gun fhiamh,
Gach iomaguin dhian a bhiodh g'am leir,
A bheireadh comhairl' orm le gradh,
'S ri each nach labhradh ni mu dhdigh.
Is mor an sonas air gach taobh,
R'a fhaotuin tha 'nar comunn graidh,
Cha tugain e air g!6ir an t-sao'il,
'S r'a thaobh tha 6r 'na ni gun sta !
Ach o cum bhuam an teanga fhiar,
Mar lion a dhiadhas air gach taobh ;
S a'n la mo thinn a sgaoil a sgiath,
'Sa dh' fhag mi sniomhta ris gach gaoth.
The following song of exile, with its accompanying narrative, I
compile from several sources. The song, according to tradition, is
the composition of Fearchar Mac Iain Gig Mhic-Rath Farquhai
MacRae, a well known Kintail man.
The circumstances under which the soug was composed may be
briefly told. Donald MacRae, who was ground-officer or bailiff to
Mackenzie of Kintail, about the year 1590, was very severe in ex-
acting the taxes imposed by his master, who, it is said, demanded
a tribute of butter and cheese in addition to the rent. He like-
26 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
wise expected that the tenants would give him a share, or an equiva-
lent, of the salmon taken in the river Cro ; but that additional cus-
tom was strenuously opposed, so that Donald was ordered to lose
no time in enforcing it. In executing his commission, he went to
Achaghark, to the house of Farquhar MacEae, commonly called
" Fearchar Mac Iain Oig," who happened at the time to be out
hunting. Donald took advantage of the man's absence, and
carried away a cow, and a copper kettle found in the house. On
Farquhar's return, his wife told him of what had occurred, and
added, that if he was a man, the bailiff would not encroach on
his property. Being after partaking of some whisky, the wife's re-
marks " raised his blood ; " and out he went with his loaded gun,
nor did he halt until he got near the bailiff as he was fording the
river Connag with the kettle on his back. He took aim, fired the
old musg, and the bailiff dropped dead in the stream. With Far-
quhar, it was naturally an exciting moment, and he instantly re-
solved to leave his house and home. Before leaving, however, he
hurried back to tell his wife Nighean Dhonnchaidh, to whom
allusion is made in the song what happened. Addressing her he
said " A bhean gun tiir, thug thu ormsa mo chall a dheanadh.
Feumaidh mise teicheadh 'san aithre 'thoir orm fhin. Thoir thusa
'n aithre ort fhein mar a's fhearr a dh' fhaodas tu." It was a sad
situation for the wife, but matters could not bo helped. Farquhar
then fled and did not halt until he reached " Cctolas nam bo," at
the entrance to little Loch Hourn, where the strait intercepted his
advance in that direction. A paternal uncle of his was living on
the other side of the loch, at a place called Sgiathairidh, and from
him he expected to get protection. He shouted for some person to
go for him, and his uncle hearing him, addressing his own sons,
said " Eiribh Fhearaibh ! Tha Fearchar mac mo bhrathair
thallud ag iarraidh an aisidh 's guth fir calla 'na cheann." Farquhar
was at once ferried, and in answer to his uncle's enquiries as to what
was wrong, he replied that he had killed Domhnull Mac Dhonnch-
aidh Mhic Fhionnlaidh Dhuibh nam Fiadh. " Pugh," said his
uncle, " do not mind that, for unless you would kill him, I would
kill him myself." Farquhar remained with his uncle for a few
months, and then returned to Kintail, where he concealed himself
for seven years in a cave in Coire gorm a' bheallaich, in Glenlic.
He never went out without leaving a copper coin on a stone at the
mouth of the cave, imagining that if any person went the way, the
coin would be either carried away, or, if handled, left in another
It appears that a belief prevailed in Scotland that a man guilty
Leaves from my Celtic Portfolio. 27
of homicide, and who evaded the officers of the law for seven years,
could not afterwards be punished. I cannot trace any such law
anywhere ; but old Seanachaidhs to the present day speak of such
a law as a matter of fact. But without enquiring whether such a
law ever existed, we know that in many cases the Crown was too
weak to punish ; and that the payment of assythement went a long
way to compound for a crime. By this payment the relatives of
the dead person would be to some extent satisfied, and in these cir-
cumstances a weak Crown could not do much to punish the guilty
person. But it is curious that the time should be limited to seven
years in the popular estimation ; and the presumption is that the
matter had its origin in some legal observance. We know that there
were many laws and customs rigorously observed by our ancestors
which have never been sanctioned by Parliament. Was not every
chief a judge among his people, and may not such an unwritten
" law" have prevailed in that way 1 Whatever the origin, the
popular opinion was that no man who was brave and clever enough
to evade the law for the time stated, should be punished, as such a
man was considered an acquisition rather than anything else in those
warlike times. The question is interesting, and perhaps some of
our members may throw more light on it.
According to tradition, Farquhar lived for seven years among
the hills of Kintail, and at the expiry of that period he con-
sidered himself a free man, and unexpectedly appeared at a funeral
in CUl Duthaich, to the great delight of his friends. He had to
pay assythement (ransom, or t'drig) for the bailiff however ; but ac-
cording to the popular belief, no further proceedings could be taken
against him. Being taunted by a friend of the bailiff that he was a
murderer, Farquhar replied Ma mharbh mis' e, nach d' ith sibh-
fhein e 1 (If I killed him, have you not eaten him yourselves 1)
This, of course, alluded to the ransom. Mackenzie would not how-
ever forgive Farquhar, and sent a messenger to him saying that he
must never again appear before " the high chief of Kintail ;" but
when the chief made an expedition afterwards to the island of Lews,
Farquhar did unknown accompany the army. When they arrived
at Poolewe, Mackenzie complained that so few of his men went from
Kintail. Whereupon, one of them retorted " How can we have
men when you would not suffer the best man in Kintail to see
you ? " Mackenzie asked who was he ; and being told it was Far-
quhar, who was as good as twenty men, " I wish," said Mackenzie,
" we had him." " If you engage," answered the other, " that you
will give him every freedom he had before he killed the bailiff, I do
not know but we might get him yet." That being promised, Far-
quhar was introduced, and he and Mackenzie were reconciled.
28 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
After this introduction, I will give you the song which Farquhai
is said to have composed during his exile ; and which to my mind
is well worthy of being here preserved :
Cha'n e dlreadh na bruthaich,
Dh'fhag ma shiubhal gun tre6ir. Cha'n, &c.
No teas ri lath' gre'ine,
'Nuair a dh'eireadh i 6irnn. No teas, &c.
Laidh a' sneachd so air m' f heusaig,
'Us cha le'ir dhomh mo bhr6g. Laidh, &c.
'S gann is le'ir dhomh ni 's fhaisge,
Ceann a bhata tha m' dhorn. 'S gann, &c.
'S e mo thubhailte m' osan,
'S e mo chopan mo bhr6g. 'S e mo, &c.
'S e mo thigh mor na creagan,
'S e mo dhaingeann gach fr6g. 'S e mo, &c.
Ge do cheannainn am buideal,
Cha'n fhaigh mi cuideachd 'ni 61. Ge, &c.
'S ged a cheannainn a' seipein,
Cha'n fhaigh mi creideas a stoip. 'S ged, &c.
Ged a dh'fhadainn an teine,
Chi fear foille dheth ce6. Ged, &c.
'S i do nighean-sa, Dhonnchaidh,
Chuir an iomagain so oirnn. 'S i do, &c.
To* 'g am beil an cul dualach,
'guallainn gu broig. T<^ 'g am, &c.
To" 'g am beil an cul bachlach,
'S a dhreach mar an t-6r. T 'g am, &c.
Dheoin Dia cha bhi gillean,
Eiut a' mire 's mi be6. Dheoin, &c.
'S mor gum b'fhearr dhut mi agad,
Na aon mhac breabadair be6. 'S mor, &c.
Ged nach deanainn dut fidhe,
Bhiodh iasg a's sithionn mu d' bh6rd. Ged, &c.
'S truagh nach robh mi 's tu 'ghaolach,
Anns an aonach 'm bi 'n ce6, 'S truagh, &c.
Leaves from my Celtic Portfolio. 29
Ann am biithaig bhig bharraich,
'S gun bhi mar riuin ach d'fhe6il. Ann, &c.
Agus paisdean beag leinibh,
A cheileadh ar g!6ir. Agus, &c.
'S mi gu snamhadh an caolas,
Air son faoilteachd do bhe6il. 'S mi, fcc.
'Nuair a thigeadh am foghar,
B'e mo roghainn bhi falbh. 'Xuair, &c.
Leis a' ghunna nach diultadh,
'S leis an fhudar dhu'-ghorm. Leis, &c.
'Nuair a gheibhinn cead frithe,
'n righ 's o 'n iarl' 6g. 'Nuair, &c.
Gum biodh fuil an daimh chabraich
'Euith le altaibh mo dhorn. Gum, &c.
Agus fuil a' bhuic bhioraich
'Sior shileadh feadh fe6ir. Agus, &c.
Ach 's i do nighean-sa, Dhonnchaidh,
'Chuir an iomagain so 6irnn. Ach, &c.
The following Rann was composed by a Macdonald, who lived
in Doch-an-fhasaidh, and was addressed to Konald Macdonald,
alias Raonul Ghlinn-Turraid. It is a specimen of those verses, or
Itainn, common at one time, in which the versifier in expressing
some wish, lauds one clan and pays few compliments to another.
In the present case, the Mackintoshes and the Campbells come in
for the versifier's displeasure. The verses would, no doubt, have
provoked the wrath of some members of these clans at that time,
and probably called forth^similar replies ; but happily Mackintoshes
and Campbells will look on them to-day with a smile :
Na'm bu leats' 'bhiodh an rioghachd
Bhithinns' cinnteach a pairt dhi ;
Bhiodh an Fhearsaid a's Innseadh,
Agam sgriobhta air paipear
Eadar Callart 's Bun Nibheis,
A Mhaoil-chintreradh 's Cor-aluinn,
An Eilean-Treig bhiodh mo dhachaidh
'S thogainn caisteal 'san Laraig.
30 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
Thogaim caisteal 'san Fhearsaid
A chumadh feachd ri am strithc,
Cha bhiodh Toisich sa' Cheapaich
Cha bhiodh Gait ann gu sgriobadh ;
Cha bhiodh piseadh no Camabheul,
Eadar Banbh agus lie,
'S bhiodh Clann-Domhnuill, na gallain
Anns gach baile gun chis on' !
I will now give a Beannacliadh Baird. The bard was formerly
called upon to give a Beannachailh as often as the minister is now-
a-days ; and numerous are the bard's blessings that are left to us in
some form or other. The following blessing was addressed to a
bride on the day after her marriage, as she came forth with her
maidens from the bridal bed. According to custom she gave a dram
to all the bridal party, and in return each member of the party pre-
sented her with some article to be of future use, and the bard usu-
ally administered his blessing. On the occasion of the marriage of
the Rev. Donald MacLeod, minister of Duirinish, Skye (ob. 1760),
there was no bard present to bless the bride. The worthy minister,
conservative of the manners and customs of his race, was equal to
the occasion however, for he readily assumed the position of bard
himself, and addressed his bride in the following beautiful lines :
Mile failte dhuit le d' bhreid !
Fad do re* gu'n robh thu slan !
Moran laithean dhuit a's sith,
Le d' mhaitheas a's le d' ni bhi fas.
A chulaidh cheutach so chaidh 'suas
'S trie a tharruing buaidh air mnaoi,
Bi sa gu subhailceach, ciallach,
thiunnsgain thu fein 'san t-srith.
An tus do chomhraidh, a's tu 6g,
An tus gach 16 iarr Eigh nan dul,
'S cha'n eagal nach dean thu gu ceart
Gach dearbh-bheachd a bhios 'na d' ruin.
Bl sa fialaidh, ach bi glic,
Bi misneachdail, ach bi stold' ;
Na bi bruidhneach, 's na bi balbh,
Ka bi niear, no marbh, 's tu 6g.
Leaves from my Celtic Portfolio, 31
Bi gleidhteach air do dheadh ruin,
Ach na bi duinte, 's na bi fuar,
Na labhair air neach gu h-olc,
'S ged labhrar ort na taisbean fuaih.
!N"a bi gearanach fo chrois,
Falbh socair le cupan Ian,
Chaoidh d' an olc na tabhair speis,
'S le do bhreid ort, mile failt I
With the following love song by a Glengarry man I will, for
the present, conclude :
Luinne.ag. Thug mi 'n oidhche 'n raoir 'san airidh,
Thug mi 'n oidhche 'n raoir 'san airidh,
Cha d' fhuair mi ann bheag a chaoimhneas,
Chionn bhi faoighneach air son Mairi.
'Illean cridhe suidhibh socair,
'Bhean-an-tighe lion am botul,
Faigh an c6rn 'san tog sinn tosda,
'S olaidh sinn an deoch air Mairi.
Bean do choltais tha i ainneamh,
Do dha ghruaidh mar chaorr' air mheangan,
Faileadh na su-chraobh dhe d' anail
Bilean tan' air dhreach na sgarlaid.
Tha fait sniomhan mu do ghuaillean
Cha'n 'eil strlth na chumail suas dut ;
Gur a boidheach h'abh do chuailein,
Bachlach, dualach, cuachach, fainneach.
Gur a maith 'thig gun de'n t-sloda,
Air do phearsa chuimir dhireach,
Ciochan corrach air uchd min-gheal
'S chlte dath an fhion tromh' d' bhraighe.
Tha do dheudach cuimir c6mhnard,
'S i mar iobharaidh an 6rdugh,
Mala chaol mar ite 'n eoin,
A's chlte 'n comhnaidh tiamh a' gh&ir' ort.
32 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
Calpa cruinn an t-siubhail utrom,
Troidh shocair nach dochunn feur
An ain a' chiuil a bhi ga ghleusadh
Dh' fhaithnichinn do cheum air chlaraidh.
'S binne liom do ghuth na smeorach
Maduinn Cheitein am barr 6gain
Nighean donn nara meall-shuil mbdhar
'S e do chomhradh 'rinn mo thaladh.
Tha thu do dh-fhion fhuil Chlann-Uaraig,
De na fiurain nach robh suarach,
Eadar Lianachan 's na Cluanan,
Bu pbailt uair-eigin do chairdean.
Tha do chairdeas dlleas daingean,
Ri cloinn Domhnuill Ghlinne-Garaidh
'S math a b' aithne dhomh na gallain,
A bha dealaidh dha do mhathair.
Tha na nighneagan an gruaim rium,
Chionn a mheud 'sa thug mi luaidh dhut
Ciamar dh' fhaodas mi toirt fuath dhut,
'S liuthad buaidh a tha 'co-fhas riut.
'S iomadh caile lachdunn chiarr-dhubh,
'Th'air an lasadh suas le miathlachd,
Bho na chual iad gu'm bheil miagh dhiot,
'S nach toir gille's fhiach a ghradh dhoibh.
Bho na chaidh thu do Dhuneideann
'Chumail comunn ri luchd Beurla,
'S eagal liom gu'n dean thu geilleadh,
'S gu'm faigh fear de 'n treud air lairnh thu !
Bho na dh' fhalbh thu moch di-luain bhuainn,
Air a' bhat' air bharr nan stuaidhean,
Guidheam slan a h-uile uair dhut,
Bho 'n rinn thu 'n taobh tuath so fhagail !
Annual Dinner. 33
27TH NOVEMBER, 1878.
Mr. Macdonald, blacksmith, Invergarry, at the meeting held
on this date, was elected an ordinary member ; and some routine
business was transacted.
17iH DECEMBER, 1878.
At this meeting, Mr. Alex. Mackenzie reported that the first
meeting of the Federation of Celtic Societies, which was held in
Glasgow on 20th November last, was in every way a great success,
and he submitted the Constitution of the Federation. The objects
of the Federation are these " The preservation of the Gaelic
language and literature ; the encouragement of Celtic education in
schools and colleges ; and generally the promotion of the interests
of Highlanders in accordance with the spirit and constitution of the
24rTH DECEMBER, 1878.
At the meeting on this date arrangements were made for the
annual dinner of the Society.
SEVENTH ANNUAL DINNER
The Seventh Annual Dinner was held in the Caledonian Hotel,
on Tuesday evening, January 14, 1879 Sir Kenneth S. Mackenzie
of Gairloch, Bart., presided, whilst the Rev. Alex. Macgregor, Inver-
ness, and Mr. John Mackay of Ben Reay acted as croupiers. The
chair was supported by Provost Simpson ; the Rev. Mr. Mackenzie,
Kilmorack; Mr. W. Jolly, H.M. Inspector of Schools; Mr. Alex-
ander Ross, architect ; Mr. Walter Carruthers, Gordouville ; and
Captain Neil Scobie, Mid-Fearn. Among those present were
The Rev. Mr. Cameron, Gaelic Church; Dr. Macnee; Dr. F.
M. Mackenzie ; Mr. Rhind, architect ; Mr. Andrew Davidson,
sculptor; Mr. W. B. Forsyth, Millburn; Mr. Mackintosh, of
Messrs. Mactavish & Mackintosh; Mr. Gunn, of Messrs. Gunn
& Grant; Mr. Alex. Macleod, grocer, Bridge Street; Mr. Ross,
of the Gas and Water Office ; Mr. Shaw, Castle Street ; Mr. Mac-
kenzie of the Celtic Magazine; Mr. Macraild, writer; Mr. W. G.
Stuart, draper, Castle Street ; Mr. Watt, Volunteer Arms Hotel ;
Mr. Ewen C. Mackenzie, Broomhill of Ord ; Mr. Hood, commission
agent ; Mr. Murdo Maclennan, carpenter ; Mr. Colin Chisholm,
Namur Cottage ; Mr. Wallace, rector, High School ; Mr. Charles
Mackay, carpenter ; Mr. J. Macdonald, Buckie ; Bailie Noble ; Mr.
34 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
Rose, late of London ; Mr. Macpherson, Moray Firth Steam-
shipping Company ; Mr. John Macdonald, Exchange ; Mr. Donald
Campbell, draper; Mr. Macdonald, live stock agent; Mr. Huntly
Eraser, Kinmy lie's; Mr. Wm. Mackay, solicitor; Mr. Macbean,
auctioneer; Mr. Couper, Highland Hallway; Mr. Deas, of Innes
and Mackay, solicitors; Mr. Fraser, C.E. ; Mr. John Murdoch,
Highlander Office ; Mr. Whyte, do. ; Mr. Wm. Mackenzie, of the
Fres Press, Secretary to the Society; Mr. Wm. Bain, Inverness
Courier ; Mr. James Cameron, Kingsmills Road ; Mr. Archibald
Chisholm, Sheriff-Clerk Depute; Mr. Urquhart, Sheriff-Clerk's
Apologies for unavoidable absence were received from
The Earl of Seafield ; General Sir Patrick Grant, G.C.B. ; Mr.
Fraser-Mackintosh, M.P. ; Mr. Angus Mackintosh of Holme ; Mr.
John Mackay, Swansea ; Mr. O. H. Mackenzie of Inverewe ; the
Rev. Dr. Maclauchlan, Edinburgh ; Colonel Macpherson of Glen-
truim ; Captain Chisholm, Glassburn ; Major Grant, Drumbuie ;
Mr. J. Chisholm-Gooden, London ; Dr. Charles Mackay, Fern Dell,
Dorking ; Bailie Macdonald, Aberdeen ; Dr. Stratton, Devon port ;
Capt. D. P. Macdonald, Invernevis, Fort- William ; Mr. Cameron
of Clunes ; Mr. Alex. Mackenzie, architect, Glasgow ; Mr. Robert
Fergusson, Rapploch ; Mr. Simon Mackenzie, Edinburgh ; Mr.
Donald Davidson, solicitor, Inverness ; Mr. John Macgregor, Inver-
moriston Hotel; Mr. A. C. Mackenzie, Mary burgh; Mr. Charles
Fergusson, Kindrogan, Pitlochry; Mr. Alex. Ross, Alness; Mr.
Simon Chisholm, Flowerdale, Gairloch; Mr. Thomas Mackenzie,
Broadstone Park, Inverness; Mr. J. Macdonald, Inland Revenue,
London ; Rev. A. C. Sutherland, Strathbraan ; Mr. E. Forsyth,
Inverness ; Mr. H. Whyte, Glasgow ; Mr. Alex. Mackenzie, wine
merchant, Inverness ; Rev. A. Bisset, Stratherrick ; Rev. A. Mac-
rae, Clachan ; Dr. Mackenzie of Eileanach ; Mr. A. Burgess, Royal
Bank, Gairloch; Rev. J. Macpherson, Lairg; Mr. D. Sinclair,
Lochalsh ; Rev. John Sinclair, Kinlochrannoch ; Rev. J. Grant,
M.A., Kilmuir ; Mr. Jas. Clunas, Nairn ; Mr. J. Nicolson, Birming-
ham; Mr. John Macfarquhar, Inverness; Mr. L. Macbean, Kirk-
caldy ; Mr. E. Macrae, Braintra ; Rev. L. Maclachlan, Tain ; Mr.
D. Macrae, Ardintoul ; Mr. Wm. Mackenzie, solicitor, Dingwall ;
Mr. Geo. J. Campbell, solicitor, Inverness ; Mr. James Mackintosh,
India Street, Glasgow ; Mr. Roderick Ross, Middlesbro'-on-Tees ;
Mr. A. Mackenzie, Ardross ; Mr. Wm. Mackenzie, factor, Ardross ;
Mr. A. Mackintosh Shaw, London ; Mr. Alpin Chisholm, Inverness;
Mr. H. C. Macandrew, Inverness; Mr. H. E. Cameron, Clunes,
Lochaber; Mr. W. A. Smith, Manchester; Mr. P. A. Mackin-
Annual Dinner. 35
tosh, C.E., Bury ; Mr. Archibald Cameron, Glenbar ; Rev. M. Mac
gregor, Ferrintosh, &c.
Pipe-Major Maclennan, piper to the Society, played while the
guests assembled ; and Mr. Menzies, as usual, supplied an excellent
dinner. The Rev. Mr. Macgregor said grace, and, dinner over, the
Rev. Mr. Mackenzie returned thanks.
The Secretary, Mr. William Mackenzie, then read the following
telegram which he had received from Mr. John Mackay, Swansea :
" Tapadh leibh a dhaoine mo chridhe ! Bithibh dileas, fearail,
anns gach cruaidh-chas. Piseach air a' chomunn ! Subhachas,
slainte, agus sonus do 'D Ridire ! "
The Chairman opened the toast list by proposing in Gaelic the
health of Her Majesty the Queen. He next gave the Prince and
Princess of Wales and the other members of the Royal Family,
making a brief and suitable reference to the death of the Princess
The Chairman next proposed very briefly the Navy, Army, and
Reserve Forces. Captain Scobie, Highland Rifle Militia, and Cap-
tain Ross, Inverness Artillery Volunteers, acknowledged the toast
on behalf of the auxiliary forces.
Mr. William Mackenzie, the secretary of the Society, read the
Annual Report, which is as follows :
The regular publication of the Society's Transactions renders a
copious report of our doings during the year unnecessary at this
time. I will therefore be very brief. Our revenue, including 82
from last year, amounted to 236 7s. 2|d., and our expenditure
to 204 6s. Id., leaving a balance of 32 Is. l|d. in favour of
the Society. I wish to point out that, although the balance in our
favour is less than what it was last year, there is no decay on the
part of the Society, for, while last year we had to pay for one
volume of Transactions (vol. v.), this year we had to pay for two
(vols. vi. and vii.) the publication of two volumes being necessary
iu order to bring the issue of the Transactions up to date. During
the year sixty new members have joined. Much good work has
been accomplished by the Society since our last dinner, and that its
influence is not confined to the Highlands is amply proved by a re-
view of our last volume of Transactions, in the current number of
the Revue Celtique, where we are told that " the Gaelic Society of
Inverness still continues to maintain the Celtic spirit in Scotland ; "
and after enlarging on the different works accomplished by the So-
ciety during the year, alluding specially to the position of Gaelic in
Highland schools, and the Celtic Federation, which is for " defend-
ing with greater force the national cause," the reviewer (M. Gaidoz,
36 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
a well-known continental litterateur) says " Nous voudrions que
les autres pays celtiques eussent le patriotisme et la te"nacite des
The Chairman then gave the toast of the evening, Success to
the Gaelic Society. Four years ago, he said, when I had the hon-
our of occupying this chair, I availed myself of the opportunity to
recount what this Society had done to fulfil the object of its insti-
tution, and to-night, in proposing the toast of the evening, allow me
first of all to refer shortly to something of what has taken place in
the four years that have since elapsed, for which the Society may
take a share of credit. The endowment of the Celtic Chair, then
still a matter of uncertainty, has now become an accomplished fact
thanks to the energy of our friend Professor Blackie, but thanks
also to the existence of a feeling on which the Professor was able
to work, which such societies as ours had done much to create.
To our Society also, backed by the efforts of the member for this
town, it is due principally, if not entirely, that the Scotch Educa-
tion Department has recognised the Gaelic language as a fit medium
of instruction for Gaelic-speaking children. Then a new magazine,
devoted to Highland literature and Highland interests, has been
established by your former excellent Secretary, and though it is in
no way under our control, it very efficiently promotes some of the
objects we have set before us, and it is not, I think, too much to
say that the idea of providing such a periodical would never have
taken shape but for our Society's existence. Again, only the other
day, our Society took a prominent part in promoting a federal
union of all the Celtic Societies of the country, by which each of
them gains a great accession of strength. In addition to all this,
many papers have been published in the Society's Transactions of
permanent interest and value ; so I may fairly and honestly con-
gratulate you, the Gaelic Society of Inverness, on having maintained
an active and useful life. The Celtic Magazine, to which I have
alluded, is now in its fourth year, and is, I hope and believe, an
assured success. It opened its third volume with an essay on
" The Poetry and Prose of a Highland Croft," which attracted so
much observation that our leading Scottish journal thought the
public sufficiently interested to make it worth sending a special
commissioner to the West Highlands, to report on this abnormal
element of society the West Coast crofter. The Commissioner's
letters were of course widely read, and intended to extend the area
of discussion. The Scotsman itself could see in the croft system only
an unmitigated evil ; others (like the Highlander in this town),
could see in it nothing but good ; while a third party, admitting
Annual Dinner. 37
the misery spoken to by the Celtic Magazine and the Scotsman's
commissioner, thought that by legislation (of a character which I
fear they did not clearly define to themselves), the crofter's position
might be brought back to that of an ideal past, in which I have no
doubt they firmly believed. The subject has for the present ceased
to be before the public, but differing as I do from the views of all
to whom I have referred, I should like to give you my own opinion
upon it if, in doing so, I do not take too great advantage of the po-
sition I occupy, and trespass too largely on the time of a social
gathering. I am not going to speak of bygone evictions, nor of the
middle-class Highland farmers, who have to a large extent disap-
peared, but of the crofter population, as we now find it on the West
Coast and on the islands that border it ; a population that lives by
manual labour, and whose condition, to be rightly judged of, must
be compared with that of unskilled labourers elsewhere in Britain.
Now, there may be very little poetry in rising at five, and being at
work by six, in labouring ten hours a-day in summer, and from
daylight to dark in winter, but the ordinary agricultural labourer
finds no hardship in it, neither should the crofter ; although (let it
be said in passing) he does not, when residing at home on his croft,
rise very often at five, or do anything like the amount of an agri-
cultural labourer's work, except perhaps for an odd week or two
at seed-time. The hardship of his lot lies not in any toil or
slavery to be endured at home, but in the fact that his croft under
present conditions does not produce enough to maintain himself and
his family, and that day's wages are not to be earned in the neigh-
bourhood. So he has to leave his home for months in order to eke
out a livelihood, and being naturally tempted to return whenever
he has gathered what he hopes will pull him through the year, he
seldom has to spare ; while, if work is scarce, or the fishing bad, or
the harvest a failure, there may not only be nothing to spare, but
there may be absolute want. There is then no question that the
West Coast crofter seldom finds himself able to indulge in luxury.
If by frugal living he manages just to keep himself out of reach of
want, his position is still not one that outsiders are inclined to
envy ; but it is absolutely certain that, despite the hardships with
which he has to contend, not one crofter in ten desires to change
his condition, by removing with his family to some other part of
the country, where he could have regular employment for twelve
months in the year. It is this fact that puts to the rout all theories
as to the misery of the crofter. He has miseries, undoubtedly.
Who has not ? But, on the other hand, it is equally certain that
(however invisible they may be to others) he has compensating ad-
38 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
vantages which make him prefer his present fate to any other that
lies open to him elsewhere. He does not care to forfeit advantages
he possesses for others less esteemed by him. If I may so put it,
the bad prose of his life is tempered by a poetry which to him
makes life more enjoyable than where it is all prose, even of a better
kind. Nor let it be supposed that I think his contentment founded
on an unsubstantial basis because I speak of it as partly due to
sentiment. If, for a time, he has to leave his family, and endure
toil and hardship for the rest of the year, he has compensation in
being his own master, and in enjoying much more ease than the ordi-
nary labourer does. If he has to live frugally, and sometimes even
finds himself stinted, he has, on the other hand, an assured home,
surrounded by neighbours whose fathers were his father's neigh-
bours, where the members of his family that have gone out into the
world will still occasionally return to gladden his eyes ; a home in
which they will maintain him when he is overtaken by age and
frailty, and in which he may expect to be succeeded by his sons.
And who that knows what sacrifices a labourer will make to keep
a cow, and what attachment springs up between every member of
his family and the petted animal, but must admit the greater inte-
rest that centres in a crofter's home, with its small stocking of cattle
and sheep, than in a home which fate has cast in a village garret or
in some alley or close of a large town. Whether I am right or
wrong in the reasons 1 thus assign for the crofter's content, this
must be accepted as a fact, that for no increase of material plenty,
which is within his reach, will he give up his present surroundings,
and surely he knows better than his critics what tends most to his
own happiness. But I not only maintain on this ground that he
is happier where he is at the present time than he -would be else-
where, but further, that his actual condition now is better than ever
was that of his predecessors of the same class before, and that his
circumstances have improved, and are improving before our eyes in
this generation. At what period were persons of the crofter class
better off in the Highlands than those that are left there now 1 Be-
fore the time of the Union, the Highlands was a scene of anarchy.
The records of the condition of the people in those times are in-
deed scanty ; but such as they are, they tell chiefly of tribal feuds,
of lands harried, of revenges taken, of battle and murder, and sud-
den death. The prose of life in those days had no doubt a good
deal of compensating poetry, but even the West Highland crofter
of to-day would not think the compensation sufficient. Passing
from those times to the eighteenth century, let me refer to three or
four volumes that I doubt not are in the Society's library, from
Annual Dinner. 39
which a tolerable idea can be gathered of the condition of the popu-
lation in the Highlands at the time when these books were respec-
tively written. In the beginning of Queen Anne's reign, Martin,
a Skyeman, published a book on the Hebrides. It is full of won-
ders, sorcery, second-sight, and marvellous properties possessed by
men, animals, and places in the islands. The one thing that is
never described except in passing remarks, is the ordinary condition
of the inhabitants. But from these passing remarks we learn some-
thing of what that condition was. There was not in Martin's time
sufficient food to maintain either the people or their cattle. Of the
latter, many, he says, died in winter and spring. He had known
particular persons lose above one hundred cows at a time, merely
by want of fodder. As for the people, he more than once reports
that many of them were forced, for want of subsistence at home, to
seek their livelihood in foreign countries. Scarcity is so common
apparently that he speaks of it regretfully, no doubt, but without
astonishment. At Tiree, he mentions how a flock of bottlenosed
whales ran themselves ashore " very seasonably in time of scarcity,
for the natives did eat them all." But of the scarcity which re-
duced the population to such food he makes no further men-
tion. It is a common every-day occurrence, casually referred to
in mentioning this wonderful and seasonable supply. Five-and-
thirty years after Martin's time we have the very graphic letters
of Captain Burt, written from this town. He did not penetrate
to the West Coast except at Fort- William, but he tells us a
good deal of the inhabitants hereabouts, and between here and
Lochaber, and we may be sure their condition was not worse
than that of those on the North-west Coasts. Burt tells us that
even in the most favourable seasons the country hereabouts pro-
duced barely sufficient grain for its own supply, that in other
seasons there was a deficiency, and he had known consterna-
tion in Inverness for want of oatmeal, when the shipping had been
retarded, and he tells how, being once at Fort- William, a poor
woman came to the garrison to beg for oatmeal for her starving
family, and refused money, because there was no food in the country
that could be purchased with it. He had known of as many as 200
horses die of a spring from starvation, in the neighbourhood of
Inverness. He was paying himself 4s. a bushel for the oats with
which he fed his horse (its present price being only 2s. 4d.), and
money was so scarce that the country women who came to the
town could not afford the pontage bodle (l-6th of a penny), but
waded the river up to their middles with heavy burdens on their
backs. He says the poverty of the field-labourer was deplorable,
40 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
and that the maid-servants at his lodgings got only three half-
crowns a-year of wages, and a peck of meal a- week for hoard, i.e.,
1 Ib. a-day, which was just the test wage allowed by the Relief
Committee during the potato famine in 1847. None of this is set
clown in ill-nature. He defends the Highlanders from the charge
of indolence commonly brought against them. He says he was
annoyed by the importunity with which they sought work at a
time when he had some doing, and that when they have gained
strength from substantial food they work as well as others ; and
he reflects, " Why should a people be branded with the name of
idlers when there is no profitable work for them to doT With
reference to the farms, he mentions that 12 merks Scots (13s. 4d.)
was a common rent, and many rents were still smaller, and that
when tacksmen held land at a rent of ,30 or 40 they frequently
or commonly sub-let it again in these small holdings, so you see the
smallness of the modern crofter's holdings is nothing new. The
poverty of the tenants was such that a portion of arrears had to be
wiped off every year, involving to the landlord an average loss of
one-fifth of the rental. If we pass over another thirty-five years,
we come to the time of Pennant's tour. I must not detain you by
any long reference to what he says, but will quote one well-known
passage. " Hundreds annually drag through the season a wretched
life, and numbers unknown in all parts of the Western Highlands
(nothing local is intended) fall beneath the pressure, some of
hunger, more of the putrid fever, the epidemic of the coasts
originating from unwholesome food, the dire effects of necessity :
moral and innocent victims ! first finding that place ' where the
wicked cease from troubling and the weary are at rest.'" Pennant's
tour was written two years before the outbreak of the American
War, and it was not till its conclusion that sheep farming was in-
troduced north of the Grampians, and that the old tenants began to
be disturbed in their occupation of the land. Let me refer you
further to the Rev. John Buchanan's account of the Long Island,
from 1782 to 1790, for an even more melancholy account of the
condition of the people. There is not only poverty but oppression,
and poverty resulting from oppression. My own ancestors, who
were not, I believe, thought bad landlords as times went, all
through the last century bound their tenants to deliver to them
their saleable cattle at a reasonable price and I suppose the power
of determining what was reasonable when tenants had only
five years' tacks lay very much with the laird and down to
the commencement of this century, those tenants living near the
coast had to keep fishing gear and boats, proportioned to the size
Annual Dinner. 41
of their farms and sufficient sub-tenants to work them, and were
bound to deliver their fish at a fixed price to a curer who had a
contract with the laird. This is a state of things that has abso-
lutely passed away. Such penury and misery as is spoken of by
the authors I have quoted is not now to be met with, nor are ten-
ants subjected to such tyrannical obligations as those that formerly
existed on the Gairloch property ; and I maintain that, in respect
of freedom from poverty and oppression, the crofter of to-day is
better off than the crofter of the eighteenth century, and in every
way is more happily circumstanced than his ancestor of a still ear-
lier time, who was, perhaps, roasted in the Church of Gilchrist, or
stifled in the cave of Eigg. And not only this, but coming down
from those remote times (our conceptions of which, though true in
outline perhaps, are apt to be coloured by our imaginations) to the
period covered by our own times, I cannot help saying that the
condition of the crofter population on the West Coast with which
I come in contact has undergone a vast improvement in the last
thirty years, and I think a very visible improvement even in the
last ten years. If any one asks me for its sign, let him look at the
houses erected now-a-days by crofters, when they find it necessary
to renew their habitations, and compare them, if he has reached
middle age, with those with which crofters were contented in the
days of his boyhood. Or let him observe them going to the East
Coast fishing, and see how many tramp it with their bags on their
backs, as in days of yore. Even if disappointed in securing a place
on the coach, they will turn back and wait for another day rather
than walk to the nearest railway station, though their fathers
trudged the whole way to Morayshire without a grumble. When
I see these signs of progress, I think there is cause for satisfaction,
even though the progress has not reached the point that I should
wish to see. There are those who make light of the West High-
lander's attachment to his home, and who think that, if his material
condition were much better than it is, he would still be an incubus
to the country. They believe the small farm system to be detri-
mental to the national interests, since the producer consumes all he
produces, and adds nothing to the accumulations of the nation, and
they would have all the crofts thrown into large farms, and their
tenants drafted off to work for day's wages at some other productive
employment. The state of trade at the present time scarcely gives
much encouragement to views of this kind. Ten days ago Lord
Derby, speaking at Rochdale, made mention of a suggestion that
distress might be relieved by inverting this process, and forming
small farms out of large ones for the employment of surplus town
42 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
populations. It is true he did not speak hopefully of the project,
but he thought it an experiment worth trying ; and when a states-
man of his character thus speaks, I do not think that, for political
reasons, we should part with a crofter population which we find
existing in contentment, even though its circumstances are poor.
The crofter's advancement hitherto has been due to three influences
education, improved means of locomotion and communication,
and the general prosperity of Eritain. The two first have permitted
him to take advantage of the last. He has been enabled to go out
into the world and bring home the spoils of labour. But what we
really want for him is to have the opportunity of winning those
spoils at home. Now, the only industries for which there seems to
be any opening on the West Coast are those of fishing and hus-
bandry. The West Highlander is more or less of a fisherman, but
is not a successful one. It has been observed that all coast popu-
lations that have the advantages of good harbours to which they
can easily run for safety make bad seamen ; and it is a fact that
the Moray Firth fisherman, partly no doubt from his better ma-
terial, but still more from his energy and hardihood, will go to the
West Coast fishing and catch there three times as much as the na-
tives do. I am therefore rather hopeless of ever making the fishing
on the West Coast a sound native industry, and I place more re-
liance on husbandry. It has been stated in the Celtic Magazine,
and stated, I believe, correctly, that as at present cultivated a four-
acre croft in the West Highlands does not produce more than two
bolls of meal and twelve of potatoes. There is evidently room here
for great improvement, for such returns would not pay the cost of
cultivation on a large arable farm. If you look on this side of the
watershed you see that the Highlander is quite capable of adopt-
ing the new and improved forms of agriculture which he sees in
practice around him, and I believe these improvements will ex-
tend to the West in time. At present the invincible force
of habit leads the West Coast crofter to follow the system of
cultivation inherited from his father, but with the increase of
education and of intercourse with the world, we may expect local
customs will obtain a less domineering influence. Certain it is that
if his idle hours in winter were spent in draining his croft and
loosening its subsoil, he might have three times the return from it
he now has. Four acres properly cultivated, with the rights of
common pasturage he possesses, would give him a bare subsistence:
to make him comfortable he should have six or eight arable acres.
And no doubt in the circumstances I assume he would soon come
to have that. With the increased value arable land would then
Annual Dinner. 43
possess he would be glad to reclaim more from its native state with
a little encouragement from the laird. If there were no subject fit
for reclamation, and the country was really over-populated, the
spread of education and facilities of locomotion would tend to thin
the population to its proper limits; but the crofters' home is so
much more attractive than that of others in the same class of life,
that I do not think any such voluntary emigration would likely
take place as would lead to the abandonment of the crofting system.
Thus I not only see progress in the past and in the present, but am
able to look forward with hope to the future. You will observe
that though I speak of a hopeful future, I do so without looking to
Parliament for its aid. To tell the truth, I never could understand
in what way Parliamentary action could be beneficial. Parliament
does not undertake to distribute private property except when a
man dies intestate, and it has ceased to subsidise particular in-
dustries out of the general funds of the nation. Some changes in
the land laws are looked forward to, but, on the whole, I think
these changes would rather tend to the doing away with small
farms altogether than to the amelioration of the condition of the
small farmer. The future of the crofter is, I take it mainly, in his
own hands and in those of his landlord, but especially in his own.
Public opinion may indeed act as a bar to harsh actions on the part
of the landlord, and as an incentive to increased exertion on the
part of a more enlightened generation of crofters accessible to its
influence, but that is all the outside help which the crofter is, I
think, likely to get. As the judicious exponent of public opinion,
this Society may be able to befriend him. If it can assist him in
any other way to which I am blind, none would rejoice more than I.
Time forbids me to enter on the question of croft tenure, as in-
deed, I owe you an apology for the length at which I have already
spoken, and I will not detain you further than to express my hope
and my confidence that the Gaelic Society of Inverness will always
maintain as warm an interest in the people of the West Highlands
as in the language and literature of their inheritance, and will so
continue to secure the adherence, attachment, and support of all
The toast was then drunk with great enthusiasm.
The Eev. Mr. Macgregor, who was greeted with loud applause,
said Is i an Deoch-slainte a chuireadh 'nam lamhaibh an
nochd " Deoch-slainte nan Uaislean sin a tha air an sonrachadh
gu bhi 'nam Buill ann an Ard-Chomhairle na Rioghachd air son gach
Siorrachd agus Baile Kioghail ann an Gaidhealtachd na h-Alba."
Tha na Buill sin lionmhor, moran diubh arm an ard-inbh, gu leir
44 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
cliu-thoilltinneach, agus airidh air deagh-dhurachd a' Chomuinn so ;
ach air domhsa a bhi gun eolas agam ach air triuir diubh a mhain,
cha'n ainmich mi fa leth ach iadsan na'n aonar eadhon iadsan a
tha 'nam Buill air son Siorrachd Rois, Siorrachd Inbhimis, Baile
Inbhirnis agus na Frith-Bhailte Rioghail a tha dluth-cheangailte
ris. Toisichidh mi le Siorrachd Hois, thairis air am bheil Alasdair
Mac-Mhathain na Bhall dhe 'n Pharlamaid, mar a bha e air na
Bailtibh so an toiseach. Tha sinn uile fad, fad an comain a'
Mhathanaich shuairce agus fhad-cheannach ! Mar b' e esan, cha
bhiodh an t-Each-iaruinn a' sitrich gach maduinn, agus meadhon
latha agus feasgair, troimh ar sraidean air a steud-thurasaibh luain-
each gu deas agus tuath gu Baile-Dheorsa, an t-Eilean Sgiathanach,
agus bailte na h-airde-tuath, agus air tionndadh dha gu deas, leum-
aidh e thar gach creag agus corrach-bheann, gus an ruig e cornh-
nardan Baile Pheairt ! Is iongantach an creutair an t-Each-iaruinn !
Cha'n iarr e ach druthag uisge, agus gealbhan teine, agus an sin
mithidh e mar a' ghaoth fein ! Is e am Mathanach mor 'na ghlio-
cas, a' shuidhich tuineachas agus dachaidh an Eich-iaruinn 's a
Bhaile so. Mar b' e gu'n do ghlac e am fath gu'n do bhuail e an .
t-iarunn an uair a bha e teth, agus gu'n do ghreas e cuisean air an
aghaidh le 'cheann agus le 'chuid (agus is mor iad le cheile), cha
chluinneamaid gleadhraich nan ceardaichean agus nam buthan lion-
mhor sin 's a Bhaile so, far am bheil na ceudan a' faotuinn obair
agus teachd-an-tir, agus far am bheil gach feumalachd air a' dheas-
achadh a dh' iarras na slighean-iaruinn ! Is iongantach na cear-
daichean iad sin ! Tha gach inneal agus udalan, gach cnag agus
slat, gach dul agus dealg, gach rothan agus mul, air an dealbhadh
leis an luchd-ealaidh dhe gach gne, agus cha'n fhaicear anns na
ceardaichibh sin a thall 's a bhos ach gach obair-innealta agus eal-
anta, cuibhlean, ruidhlean, rothlairean, luidheirean, agus cearcaill
dhe gach meud ! Is e am Mathanach ceudna a dh' ath-uraich taobh-
an-iar na h-aibhne againn le roidibh, sraidibh, agus aitreibhean lion-
mhor a chumadh agus a thogail. Is airidh esan air deagh-mn na
cuideachd so. Dh' ainmichinn a nis am Ball uasal sin a thaghadh
air son ar siorrachd fein eadhon Lochiall, duin-uasal, suairce,
ceanalta, deas-bhriathrach, agus aigeantach, le bhreacan-an-fheile !
Thainig e o shinnsear a bha gaisgeil agus treun ann an tuasaidibh f
nam Fineachan, co maith 'sann an dionadh na Rioghacd. Bha e K
'gabhail suim 'sa Pharlamaid 'san am, do na reachdaibh a rinneadh
a thaobh nan sgoilean ura a shuidhicheadh 'nar tir, agus cha'n 'eil
teagamh nach robh e furachair air cuisibh eile adhartachadh ; ach
tha duil aig an Ard-Albannach nach d' rinn Lochiall idir na dh'
fheudadh e air son leas nan Gaidheal agus na Gaidhealtachd ; ach
Annual Dinner. 45
biodh sin mar a dh' fheudas, bheir sinne guth maith do Cheann-
cinnidh nan Camshronach, le bhi 'guidhe dha saoghal fad agus
deagh bheatba. Ach, " gach dileas gu deireadh," dh' ainnmichinn a
nis Teavlach coiragainn fein ; ach gabhaibh mo leisgeul, cha deanainn
ach smal a cbur air a bliuaidhibh tarbhach le bhi toiseachadh air an
aithris. Tha sibh uile eolach orra, agus cha chomas domhsa an
luaidh. Togaidh a' Ghailig agus na Gaidheil fianuis air a threubh-
antas. Tha Clachnacudainn fathast a' fuaim le h-iolach-gaire a'
ruhor chuideachd a chuir urram air o chionn uine nach fada air ais
agus is airidh e air deagh-mheas a' Chomuinn so, dhe 'm bheil e
'na phriomh-bhall urramach, agus tlachd-cridhe mhuinntir nara
Bailtean sin, air son am bheil e 'seasamh ann an Ard-chomhairle na
Rioghachd. Aoh cluinnibh mi, ann an aon fhocal eile m'an co'-
dhuin mi ; agus 'se sin, gu'm bheil mi'n dochas gu'n d' thig an la
anns am bi ar caraid uasal, ionmhuinn, cinneadail fein an Eidir
Coinneach Ghearrloch, (a tha aig ceann a' bhuird an nochd) 'na
Bhall ann am Parlamaid na Rioghachd air son cearnaidh air chor-eigin
'nar tir ! Ochan 'se dheanadh an gaire-mor ri sin an Ceilteach, seadh,
agus an t-Ard-Albannach mar an ceudna, ged nach ann de shliochd
'nan cabar e : ach dheanamaid uile e, oir c'ait am bheil uasal ni's
airidh na esan air urram, agus ni's freagarraiche na e, chum dleas'-
nais na dreuchda sin a cho'-lionadh ] Leis gach iolach agus urram
'nar comus, olamaid Deoch Slainte nan Uaislean sin a tha air an
sonrachadh gu bhi 'nani Buill ann an Ard-chomhairle na Rioghachd,
air son gach Siorrachd agus Baile Rioghail ann an Gaidhealtachd na
Mr. "Wm. Mackay, solicitor, Inverness, proposed the next toast.
He said Unfortunately, our country " Tir nam Beann, nan
Gleann, 's nan Gai.sgeach" is at present under a cloud, the like of
which has not darkened the land within the memory of man. On
the beautiful notes of the Caledonian Bank are engraved the very
words of our toast " Tir nam Beann, nan Gleann, 's nan Gaisgeach"
shewing that the institution is peculiarly a Highland one, and
that its founders, who adopted that motto, loved our bens and glens,
and the people who inhabited them and well were the best inte-
rests of the Highlands kept in view by the Bank. I have recently
had occasion to read the minutes of the Company, and the annual
reports of the Directors from 1838 (when the Bank was established)
until 1878, when it suspended business, and I was much struck
with the uniform anxiety of the Directors and officials from the
first to the last to encourage trade in the Highlands, and to give
every legitimate assistance to Highland farmers, large and small.
The advantages of this policy were mutual, and it is due to those
46 Gaelic Society of Inverness-
who managed the Bank that we should acknowledge that while
they did give such liberal encouragement and assistance, the man-
agement of the Bank attained a position in the confidence of the
public second to none in the kingdom. But all that is changed.
The institution which has for forty years been the pride and the boon
of our country has been rudely shaken. Its beautiful notes with
their picture of our Highland capital are even already hardly to be
seen, those little banners with their proud legend of " Tir nam
Beann, nan Gleann, 's nan Gaisgeach" are laid low, and that too by
the hand of the Saxon. Glasgow two centuries ago had unpleasant
experiences of the tender mercies of the Highland host. It has now
had a fell if a tardy revenge. And here I may refer to the fact
that the three Celtic corners of the kingdom are at present similarly
afflicted. First, our Highland Bank suspended, then the Bank of
South Wales closed its doors ; and now the Cornish Bank has fol-
lowed suit. I am not to enlarge upon this coincidence, I only
mention it as a remarkable one. Well, the horizon is dark, but we
must not be discouraged. The Highlands " Tir nam Beann"
will survive this catastrophe as it has done former disasters. We are
are all agreed that if our country is to prosper as it has hitherto
done, we must have a local bank. Upon this point all who are
interested in the fate of the Caledonian are united directors, offi-
cials, shareholders, and customers. But upon the question how
this end is to be attained, there are, I am sorry to say, serious dif-
ferences of opinion. Where so many older and more experienced
men are endeavouring to point out the true path, I will not pre-
sume to raise my hand ; but this you will allow me to say that if
those interested in the Caledonian Bank are to get out of their pre-
sent difficulties it is not by each of them adopting a course of his
own, and insisting that his is the only true course. We must cease
to impute sinister motives to, and make groundless accusations
against, those to whom to a large extent we owe the high position
the Bank occupied until the collapse of the City of Glasgow Bank,
those who had nothing to gain but everything to lose by the death
of the Caledonian ; and finally, we must no longer allow ourselves
to be tossed to and fro and carried about by every wind of doctrine
that may appear in print.
Mr. John Macdonald, Exchange, who was called on to respond,
said the references of the last speaker to then- local disaster were
calculated to cast a gloom over their otherwise pleasant meeting.
He trusted, however, that the cloud of distress at present hanging
over the Highlands would soon pass away. But the circumstances
of the people of the north were by no means so gloomy and dis-
Annual Dinner. 47
tressing as in other parts of the country, where hundreds could not
obtain work and were being fed by common charity. There was
every reason, indeed, to be hopeful ; and when they looked back
to the times referred to by their excellent Chairman, in his able and
exhaustive address, they might well consider they were not so badly
off after all, und that as in the past they would successfully emerge
from all their present troubles. As Sir Kenneth had said, much
depended on their lairds, but very much on the Highlanders them-
selves. When it was known what could be produced in various
branches of industry under the most disadvantageous circumstances,
the Highland people did not stand in the most favourable contrast.
A good deal of the spare time of the Highland crofter for it was
well known he had much time on his hand turned to little or no
account might be devoted to the production of various useful
articles of handicraft, such as were produced in the south in blind
asylums and other similar institutions, by people who had only the
use of one-half of their limbs and faculties. He by no means meant
that the Highlanders were in the same condition as such people ;
what he meant to convey was that the Highland crofter had better
physical and mental ability at present lying dormant, and plenty
time at his disposal to turn it to practical account. The public
press could not do better in this part of the country than earnestly
urge upon Highlanders to imitate those who made the most of their
time by engaging in honest and profitable labour.
Mr. Mackay of Ben Reay proposed the next toast. He said Sir
Kenneth and gentlemen, The Council of the Society made a great
mistake when they selected me to propose the toast of the Celtic
Language, Celtic Literature, and the Celtic Chair. A man who has
for his motto as I have, " with a strong hand," is not likely to be a
man of many words. I am a man of few words, so it was cruel to
insist that I should propose three toasts in one for the language, the
literature, and the chair each being itself worthy of a separate
speech. However, it is with great pleasure that I put the tri-une
toast before you, and its importance will, I am certain, ensure for
it an enthusiastic reception. It is unnecessary that I should say a
word by way of commending the language, for it is the mother
tongue of most of us, and of course will carry with it feelings of
affection, sympathy, and warm-heartedness, which it is impossible
to convey through any other channel. The influence of the lan-
guage which we have spoken in our youth is proverbial ; and any
one who has sojourned in a foreign country, or lived in a distant
colony, must know how a word or a phrase that he has not heard
since he left his home in the old fatherland, sends a thrill of emotion
48 Gaelic Society of Inverness,
through him that no other influence can produce. I have felt it
myself, and seen its workings in others, when thousands of miles
away from the hills and glens of old Scotland. The Celtic lan-
guage, and especially our branch of it the Scoto-Gaelic being
peculiarly one of poetry, and of the affections, and highly expres-
sive, clings perhaps with greater tenderness in the feelings of those
who speak it than any other. Take away the language (and I may
also say the dress) of a people, and you denationalise that people at
once. And yet I have heard many a one say that Gaelic is of no
value, and that it would do better if it were numbered among the
tongues of the past ; but a language that is the vehicle of communi-
cation among upwards of 300,000 of the people of Scotland, is
surely of some account, and worthy of the serious consideration of
every well-wisher of his country. Depend upon it, if you ever see
a Highlander ashamed of his Gaelic, give him a wide berth ; he is
not to be trusted ! I am not going to attempt to give you a history
of the language, but shall say that of its antiquity there can be
no doubt ; and the fact that the key to the meaning of the names
of places all over Scotland, and also to some extent in England, is
to be found in the Gaelic, is surely a very good reason why we
should wish to preserve it. " The Gaelic Topography of Scotland,"
a valuable work by Colonel Eobertson, is sufficient in itself to
satisfy even the most sceptical on this point. Colonel Kobertson
says : " As to the present Highlanders' language, let the intelli-
gent reader duly weigh and consider the fact of the numerous river
names in England and Scotland. . . . The etymology of each
can only with truth be assigned to the Gaelic language of the High-
landers. . . . When these facts are duly weighed and con-
sidered, it may be seen that it is a truth which cannot be contro-
verted . . . that the present Gaelic language of the High-
landers is identical with the Gaelic names of all places in every
part of Scotland and the islands, and that their language is thereby
unquestionably the same as that of the Caledonians, by whom alone
all the original Gaelic names of places were given, particularly
those of the numerous mountains, rivers, lakes, valleys, islands, &c.,
&c., throughout the whole extent of Scotland." From the language
to the literature of the Gael is an easy and a natural step. I was
asked by a visitor the other day if the Highlanders really had a
literature, when, as an answer, I took from my book-shelves a copy
of Reid's " Bibliotheca Scoto-Celtica," and said "Look at that.
There is a list of the Scottish-Gaelic books which were known to be
in existence fifty years ago ;" and my friend was surprised at their
number. It is true that, with the exception of poetry, most of the
Annual Dinner. 49
works are translations ; yet the whole forms a valuable collection,
and numbers 170 separate works. But Reid's list was compiled at
a time when but little attention was paid to Gaelic literature.
" The Beauties of Gaelic Poetry" had not been published ; " The
Book of the Dean of Lisinore" was unknown ; and I doubt even if
that most indefatigable of collectors, J. F. Campbell of Islay, had
been born. Mr. Campbell, as you all know, gave us some years
ago his four interesting volumes of " West Highland Tales," and
more recently that extraordinary and valuable collection of Heroic
Ballads, orally collected by himself and those who assisted him. I
mean " Leabhar na Feinne." That volume contains a mass of
poetic literature of which any nation may be proud. I may also
refer to " The Gaelic Etymology of the English Language," by Dr.
Charles Mackay, and however opinions may differ as to some of his
derivations, it is a volume that shows an amount of research and
patient investigation that merits our warmest thanks ; and, as a
help in philological study, it is of the highest value. I need not
notice the many pamphlets, magazines, and newspapers which have
been attempted in Gaelic. Somehow or other they have not been
successful. The "Welsh, on the other hand, either because they
are more enthusiastic in their Celtic fire than we are, or from
some other cause which I cannot explain, support newspapers in
then- mother tongue, which, apparently, we cannot. Still, in
Inverness, we have the Highlander and the Celtic Magazine, for
both of which we are thankful. I will not refer to the many books,
either in Irish or Welsh, although the former is so closely allied,
but will merely say that Irish Gaelic has received a stimulus that
is likely to bring within reach of those who wish to read them,
copies of nearly all the valuable manuscripts in that branch of the
language. But to appreciate the literature it is necessary that we
should be able to read the language, for it is a painful fact that of
the many thousands who speak Gaelic very few can read it. Reid,
in the introduction to his " Bibliotheca-Scoto-Celtica,'' to which I
have already referred, wrote in 1832 as follows : " At the present
moment, although great exertions are making by many distinguished
friends of Celtic literature to perpetuate the language. ....
yet they have to contend with opponents to which they can offer
but trifling resistance. The steamboats and stage-coaches which
are now visiting the Highlands do more in one season to chase away
the Gaelic than all the combined powers of those who are labouring
in its behalf could remedy in twenty years. The listlessness evinced
by many of the Highland clergy to the stud}' of the Gaelic language
is another powerful reason for its ... decline. These gen tie -
50 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
men could do more for the cause of Gaelic literature than any other
class, if they cared much about it. ... They could fan its ex-
piring spark by patronising the simple and primitive laity in their
parishes who evince an ardour in its cultivation. They could
strongly recommend its being learned at school by the children of
their parishioners, but this, we are sorry to say, is not done." Now,
what Eeid, in the quotation I have just read, says of the clergy in
1832 is applicable, I fear, to a great many of them in 1879. But
what I am surprised at is that the School Boards in the Highlands
seem to take very little interest in promoting the knowledge of
Gaelic. At the meeting of the Edinburgh Sutherland Association,
held last week, I noticed that the Rev. Dr. Maclauchlan referred to
this want of interest with great regret. After the efforts which
were made, and successfully, to get Gaelic placed in the School lists,
I think that our Society should keep the matter before the School
Boards, so that not only, as Dr. Maclauchlan expressed it, might
Highlanders be able to read the Bible in their own language, but
also that they may read these glorious old ballads and songs which
tell of the heroes of ancient days, and which invariably have a
moral lesson on the side of truth and virtue ! What can I say
about the Chair? Only this, that as we have a language and a
literature we require a Chair in which to install a Professor, to ex-
plain the structure of the one and the beauties of the other. The
establishment of that Chair is now an accomplished fact, and if the
year 1878 will in after ages be spoken of as a black year for Scot-
land (and after all the recent disasters I fear it will), then T hope
that 1879 will be a red letter year for the Highlands of Scotland,
because in it was founded, and the first Professor appointed to the
Chair of Celtic Literature in the University of Edinburgh. Pro-
fessor Blackie stated last week that he was only short XI 70 to com-
plete his 12,000, and that he would have it within the next three
months. Three cheers then for the worthy Professor, for we owe a
debt of gratitude to him which can never be repaid. Since coming
into this room I have been handed a letter from my namesake of
Swansea, in which he says he has sent an additional sum of 50 to
Blackie, as a contribution to the chair from friends in South Wales,
and now he says he and his friends are going to raise money to
found bursaries. I call then also for three cheers for John Mackay
of Swansea, the President of our Society. I couple the toast with
the name of Mr. John Whyte, Highlander Office.
Mr John Whyte, in replying, after some preliminary remarks,
said To go into any elaborate line of proof to show that we have
a literature were as unnecessary as it would be impertinent at a
Annual Dinner. 51
gathering of the Gaelic Society of Inverness. We have a pretty
extensive, and, as testified even by those who only taste of it
through the medium of translation, a most valuable heritage of
written literature handed down to us from the past. And there
falls to be added to this the vast treasures of that field which is
but just entered upon I mean that of our unwritten literature.
Of the labours of the workers in this department it would take me
too much time to speak aye even to mention their names. You
have not a few of them present here this evening.. Then there is
the great and very successful work that is being done by the socie-
ties both in Ireland and America, for the preservation of the Irish
language. I am sure we all wish them prosperity in their under-
taking, for there can be no denying that their language and ours
are all but identical, and that had their relationship and ours in
other respects been more cordial and friendly and co-operative in
the past, as we hope they may be in the future may I not say as
we hope to make them in the future we should have been less
likely to have allowed ourselves to suppose that a whole hemisphere
of difference existed between them and us iu language and race and
sentiment. Henceforth let it be our endeavour to make common
interest with them and say, " Let there be no strife between me
and thee, for we be brethren." Another great branch of our Celtic
Literature which I am glad to see is receiving more intelligent con-
sideration than it did in times past, and one which is sure to
prove a most opulent field for the explorer,, is that of our Celtic
music. I am sorry that I can only say our secular music, for un-
fortunately, and from causes very much beyond our control, our
ecclesiastical music in the Highlands is in a condition that is very
far from creditable and satisfactory. Our secular song has been of
late receiving the attention of our musicians and of others interested
in the matter. Our magazines, notably the late Gael and the Celtic
Magazine, as well as the Highlander, have been doing good work
in the direction of rescuing and preserving some of our lyric songs
and tunes, which are in danger of being lost. The other day I had
the pleasure of seeing the first two numbers of a new musical perio-
dical called The Thistle, edited by Mr Colin Brown, the Euiiig
Lecturer on Music in the Andersonian University, Glasgow, a true
Highlander, and one eminently qualified to enter intelligently and
scientifically into the subject. The numbers which I have seen
are most interesting to us as Highlanders, and I am sure the work
will prove one of great value. Thus you see that from our great
Archbishop Blackie, at the head of our Celtic Hierarchy, down to
the lowest curate, the Celtic hive is all in motion, and it only
52 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
remains for us individually and as societies to do all we can to
assist in the good work.
The Eev. Mr. Mackenzie, Kilmorack, who on rising was very
cordially received, said I have the honour to ask you to join rue
in the expression of our cordial good-will towards the other societies
which are federated with our own. Let me remark at the outset
that these societies constitute a cheering fact and a great power,
and the greater the power the more important it is that it should be
wisely directed and strenuously exercised. Far be it from me to
cast any reflection upon those societies in general or upon our own
in particular. On the contrary, I readily admit the right of the
members of this Society the only one with whose work I am
acquainted to congratulate themselves on the growing value and
variety of their papers from year to year. Still I cannot but re-
gret that the language itself, in anything like a wide and philo-
logical sense, receives but comparatively little attention, more'
especially as every question more interesting than another is as yet
quite undetermined. If you ask how old is it 1 you get the most
vague and even contradictory answers. If you ask where is its
primeval seat 1 some answer the west of Europe, while some with
greater reason regard it as the primeval language of all Europe, and
of a large portion of Asia besides. And if you ask how does it
stand in relation to the other ancient tongues? still the same doubt;
some linguists admitting that it along with these languages are
daughters of a now dead mother, while others at the least one other
are prepared to maintain that in its oldest or topographical form it
is itself the mother the living mother, the veritable Alma Mater of
all the Aryan tongues, Sanscrit itself not excepted. I have been
occupied of late in going over Eopp's Sanscrit roots, and I have
come to form a strong opinion that in everything that constitutes
oldness, Gaelic in its oldest form is indefinitely older than this pet
language of modern linguists. Now I am very sure that all these
points shall ultimately be determined, and it is because we have
the materials in our hands as others have not for their determina-
tion, that I would earnestly urge upon this and the other federated
societies the propriety of devoting their main strength to the
cultivation of the language itself in the wide view that I have
indicated. As to the mode of doing this I would be far from
recommending anything that might seem repressive or restric-
tive. The division of labour is now acknowledged in every
department of enquiry. Every man gets on best when he is per-
mitted to choose the line for which he has special aptitude. By
all means let your gifted and versatile member, " Xether Lochaber,"
Annual Dinner. 53
continue to lead his detachment, as he has done to such good pur-
pose, in the line of proverb and poetry. And let Mr Ferguson con-
tinue his investigation into the terras of natural history, taking up
animal and vegetable life, and others equally capable and earnest in
their own departments. But I feel confident that there are in all
the societies young members possessed of linguistic faculty, and
eager for its cultivation, and let me assure them, as the result of long
and arduous study in this same field, that acquaintance with the
Celtic dialects, earlier and later, is of inestimable value as the basis
of Aryan philology. Finally, there are three lines of operation
which I can only mention. (1.) L>y a cautious etymology to resolve
compound words into their component parts, and having obtained
their simplest vocable or root words, then endeavour to determine
their original forms. Yes, there is no greater mistake than to
imagine that Gaelic is now as it once was. It has undergone
immense changes, so that three steps of abrasions are clearly trace-
able. (2.) Once having determined these simple roots and their
primeval forms, you are in a condition to prove by evidence that
cannot be controverted, the title of our venerable Gaelic to rank
as the oldest member of all the Aryan tongues. (3.) Then
you can turn to the record of Topography, and may behold in every
country in Europe, and in by far the greatest portion of Asia, in
thousands and tens of thousands of expressions, the indelible proof
of primeval occupancy by a Gaelic speaking race. I speak
advisedly when I say that " Bad " (locality) ; " Bagh " (bay) ;
" Baile " (town) ; " Gala " (harbour) ; " Ceann " (head) ; "Dail"
(dale) ; " Dun " (town), and numbers besides are as rife in Asia as
in our own country. I have great pleasure in proposing "The
Federation of Celtic Societies," coupling the toast with the name of
Mr Colin Chisholm.
Mr. Colin Chisholm, in responding, said that had there been
such a combination of men of knowledge and of intellect inaugu-
rated at the beginning of the present century certain portions of
the Highlands could not be such miserable wrecks as they now
are, without men, means, or enterprise. And he earnestly hoped
that this organization, of hitherto detached forces, would, with hope,
intelligence, and courage, lead the various Highland societies onward
in the gieat work of social and physical improvement, so much
needed in the land. Mr. Chisholm concluded amidst great applause
with the following new Gaelic song in honour of the chairman ;
54 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
CHORUS Gu'm bu slan do clheadh Shir Coinneach,
Sheas e 'choinneainh mar .a b' abhaist,
Cridheil, uasal, eolach, cliuiteach,
Mar cheann-iuil do Chlann nan Gaidheal.
Ochd c<md deug, naoi deug 's tri fichead,
Sin a' bbliadhna 's math leinu aireamh,
Fhuair sinn urram bho Shir Coinneach,
'JS" gaisgeach foinnidh 's Triath air Ghearrloch.
Gu'm bu slan, &c.
luchair-ghliocais an taobh tuath so,
Gu'm a buan an t-urram dhasa,
Ceann na ceille, steidh nam buadhan
Deadh Shir Coinneach nasal Ghearrloch.
Gu'm bu slan, &c.
Cha'n 'eil Goill aige dha 'n arach,
'S iad na Gaidheil fhein bu chinntich,
Sheas iad cruadalach ro dhileas
Le craobh-shinnsridh Oighre Ghearrloch.
Gum bu slan, &c.
Tha gach tighearn' a's duiu'-uasal,
'S an taobh tuath gu leir ag ratainn,
Nach eil uachdaran cho buadhach
Ei Sir Coinneach uasal Ghearrloch.
Gu'm bu slan, &c.
Tha gach oganach 's gach buachaill,
Tha gach tuathanach 's gach armunn,
Deas gu eiridh, ealamh, uallach,
Mar bu dual do mhuinntir Ghearrloch.
Gu'm bu slan,&c.
'S mairg a dhuisgeadh anns an uair sin
Aobhar gruaim no culaidh thaire ;
'S grad a chiosaichte gach fuathas
Le Clann Eachainn Euaidh a Ghearrloch.
Gu'm bu slan, &c.
A nnual Dinner. 55
Fhad 'sa ruitheas uisg a fuaran,
Fhad 'sa ghluaiseas tonn air saile,
Gus an traigh na h-eoin na cuaintean,
Gu'n robh buaidh air teaghlach Ghearrloch !
Gu'm bu slan, &c.
The next toast was " The Provost, Magistrates, and Town
Council of Inverness," proposed by Mr. Ross, architect, and re-
sponded to by Bailie Noble in the absence of the Provost, who
had been called away.
Mr. Jolly looked upon it as a compliment to have been asked
to propose the toast of " The Non-resident Members," for it showed
that they considered him, though no Highlander in blood, one in
Highland sentiment and feeling. He classed the Non-resident
Members as expatriated Highlanders who carried with them an
ardent love of their country, and who had laboured for the good
and credit of their country and race men like the chief of the
Society ; and (2) men of other nationalities, who, like himself (Mr.
J.), had a strong admiration for the Celtic character, and desired
the real good of the race. The Highlandman was always proud and
happy to cherish his native sympathies and to carry a true High-
land heart even under the burning tropics, and, though born abroad,
still to feel the nobler and braver that his fathers had planted their
feet on their native heather, and in many a noble story had borne a
noble part. Who had helped most earnestly and most substantially
their successful founding of the Celtic Chair, under their late chief,
Professor Blackie 1 ? The non-resident Highlanders. Who desired
the regeneration of the Highland people, and the development in
them of true self-dependence, true self-respect, and true self-asser-
tion ] The non-resident Highlanders. Who, in short, were their
truest friends in heart, hand, and pocket in all their best endeav-
ours as Highland men 1 These same distant friends, distant only in
space, not in spirit. There was something especially ardent in the
love of an absent mountaineer for his native glens. Many things
contributed to produce higher devotion, and not least the rare beauty
of the land itself. But the second class of non-resident members
deserved to be specially remembered on such an occasion, the non-
Highland members of the Society. They were one great element
of their strength, a worthy strong right arm. It was the best proof
of the righteousness of their position and demands that they had
so many non-Highland members, willing and able to sympathise
with and help them. That showed that the work in which they
were engaged was not merely sectional, but national, and that the
r >0 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
country was becoming alive to the importance of the questions
which their Society represented. The Highlanders required, and
were beginning to realise the importance of self-help, to cherish a
spirit of self-dependence, to look into the riches of their own tongue,
and to use it for the best advantage ; to investigate the conditions
of their whole well-being, and to endeavour so to act as to make
themselves independent and happy amidst their beautiful glens and
Captain Scobie briefly acknowledged the toast.
The other toasts were The Clergy, by Mr. Donald Campbell, and
acknowledged by the Eev. Mr. Macgregor ; The Press, by Bailie
Noble ; The Chairman, who was pledged with Highland honours
and great cheering, by Mr. Walter Carruthers ; and The Croupiers,
by Mr. John Macdonald, Buckie.
In course of the evening songs were given by Mr. Mackay of
Ben Eeay, Mr. John Whyte, Mr. W. G. Stuart, and Mr. Jolly.
Altogether the dinner was a great success.
29m JANUARY, 1879.
At this meeting the thanks of the Society were awarded to Sir
Kenneth S. Mackenzie, for the manner in which he presided at the
last Annual Dinner of the Society ; and the office-bearers for the
year were then nominated.
5TH FEBRUARY, 1879.
The office-bearers for the year were elected at the meeting on
this date. Their names will be found on another page.
12iH FEBRUARY, 1879.
Some routine business having been transacted, Mr. Colin
Chisholm, Namur Cottage, Inverness, read the following paper on
THE MONKS OF IONA.
History records that St. Columba, the pious founder of the
Monks of lona, was born at Gartlan, in Donegal, in the year of our
Lord 521. It is stated that he was of royal pedigree, both by pa-
ternal and maternal descent. His father was one of the eight sons
of O'Neil of the nine hostages, supreme monarch of all Ireland, and
his mother was a daughter of the Royal House of Leinster. Ac-
cording to some Irish writers, his proper name was Corinthian, but
The Monks of fona. 57
was called by his companions Columan, or Dove. From his attach-
ment to the church he was also called Colum-Cille, or Columb of
the Church. At an early age he was placed under the care of a
holy priest. His biographer, Adamnan, the 6th Abbot of lona,
tells us that he afterwards resided with the saintly Bishop Finnian,
at Moville, County Down. St. Columba went from the north to
the south of Ireland, and took up his residence at Cluanard College,
in Leinster, which was resorted to by the most eminent sages and
divines of the day. In due time he was ordained priest, and began
his labour with apostolic zeal. In his twenty-fifth year of age, he
founded the monastery of Derry, and in the year 553 that of
Durrow. O'Curry, the late eminent Celtic scholar, in his Lectures
on the Manuscript-Materials of Ancient Irish History, says, that
the eight great races of Ireland are O'Neill and O'Donnell in the
north, O'Brien and M'Carthy in the south, O'Moore and O'Byrne in
the east, and O'Connor and O'Eourke in the west.
This union of noble races, combined with piety and education,
gave St. Columba extensive influence. Usher and O'Donnell state
that he founded more than one hundred monastries before his de-
parture from Ireland. We have it on the authority of Adamnan
that St Columba was in the vigour of manhood, being 42 years of
age, when he established himself in lona. All testimonies agree in
celebrating his personal beauty. His height, his voice, and his
cordiality were very remarkable. Venerable Bede thus writes:
" Columba came into Britain in the ninth year of the reign of
Bridius, who was the son of Meilochon, and the powerful king of
the Pictish nation, and he converted that nation to the faith of
Christ by his preaching and example ; whereupon, he also received
the aforesaid island for a monastery. His successors hold the
island to this day." Eitson, in his Annals of the Caledonians, says
that " Conal MacConguil, King of the Scots, was the real benefactor
of the holy man."
The late Dr. Norman Macleod (the father of the late editor of
Good Words) tells us, in his eloquent Gaelic life of St. Columba.
that Columba left Ireland in a little curach in the year of our Lord
563, accompanied by twelve of his select and beloved disciples.
He reached that lonely island behind Mull, which is called from
that time / Challum Chille.* A writer in the London Examiner,
January 7th, 1871, states that on the arrival of St. Columba at
lona, " he set himself to establish, on the double basis of intellec-
tual and manual labour, the new community which was henceforth
* Vide " Leabhar nan cnoc," p. 43-53,
o8 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
to be the centre of his activity." How far he succeeded in his
gigantic undertaking will be seen by another extract I translated
from the polished Gaelic of Dr. M'Leod. After dwelling with evi-
dent sympathy on the difficulties St. Columba encountered among
the Druids and their uncivilized Caledonian followers, the Doctor says
" The country itself was at that time like a vast wilderness, with-
out way or safe roads through the thick dark woods, the hills exten-
sive and full of wild beasts. But in spite of all this, he parsevered,
and that in a measure miraculous. During thirty-four years he
worked hard founding churches, and spreading the Gospel of
Christ. In his own time he saw the Druidic religion condemned,
and the kingdom of Scotland converted to the religion of the
Gospel." The Doctor states that St. Columba established three
hundred churches in his day, and that he founded one hundred
We are told that the small curach, or coracle, in which St.
Columba and his twelve companions came from Ireland, was built
of wicker-work, covered with hide. It appears that the Celtic
nations navigated their stormy seas with such flotilla. In the
frail skiffs of that period, St. Columba and his Monks sailed from
island to island through the Hebrides, and thus they discovered
St. Kilda, the Faroe Islands, and even reached Iceland. Not only
did they spread Christianity through the islands, but through the
inlands of Caledonia, carrying truth, light, and religion to the re-
motest glens and valleys of the Highlands and Lowlands also. We
have the testimony of our earliest writers bearing us out in this be-
lief. We have also the strongest collateral evidence in support of
it; and let me now direct your attention to a few places south,
north, east, and west where the Monks of lona and their disciples
planted religion, and dedicated their churches and chapels to Saints,
of unmistakable Celtic names.
County or Town. Name of Church.
Berwickshire Cill or Eaglais founded by Gospatrick.
Peeblesshire Cill-Bothoc, or Beathoc.
Do Cill or Gill Moriston (changed in 1189 to
Dumfriesshire Gill-Michael, in the town of Dumfries.
The Monks of lona. 59
County or Town. Name of Church.
Linlithgowshire...Cill or Eaglais-Machan.
Do. ...Gill or Dailmanich, or Delmenie.
Dumbartonshire. . .Gill-Patrick.
Do. Cill-Nin|m (Bannockburn).
Haddingtonshire... Gill-Lady (now Glade's Muir Church).
Perthshire Cill-Chonan or Fortingal.
Forf arshire Cill-Causnan.
Edinburgh Cill-Ghiles, i. e. , Ghille lona.
Do Cill-Adaninan. In the Ellon district, and dedi-
cated in the 7th century.
Do Cill-Pheadar, in Clyne.
Do Cill-Chalum-Chill, Clyne.
Do Cill-Fhillan, ), ,, . v - . .,
mi TT- * f ooth m Kintail.
Do Cill-Uistean, j
Inverness Cill-Colm, Petty. The Earl of Moray has also the
title of Lord of St. Colm, from a small island
on the coast of Fife.
Do Cill-Beathan, Strathglass.
Do Cill-Uradan, do.
Do Gill-Finnan, Glengarry.
Do Cill-Donnan , also in Glengarry.
Do Cill-Barr, or Barra Isle.
Do GUI-Michael, do.
Argyleshire Cill-Chalum, in Lorn.
Do Cill-Choinich, or Kenneth.
<><> Gaelic Society of Inverness.
County or Town. Name of Church.
Argyleshire Cill-Chiaran (Campbletown).
Do Cill-Oran, in Colonsy Island.
Kincardiuesliire . . . Cill-Lauvan. The birthplace of John De Fordun,
author of the Scoto-Cltronicon. This parish is
also celebrated for having been the residence,
and probably the burial place of St. Palladius,
sent to Scotland by Pope Celestine, in 431.
St. Palladius was the first bishop sent to
Having taken you in imagination on a rapid pilgrimage to view,
if not to pray with me at, the shrines of Celtic Saints in every quar-
ter and portion of our native country, is it too much, to expect you
to endorse with me the honest statement of Dr. M'Leod 1
We have seen how the surface of Scotland has been studded
with churches dedicated to saints of Celtic names ; but the sceptic
will exchiim, " You North Britons are so very clannish, that noth-
ing less than national saints will satisfy you." My answer to any
such charge is that there are more names of Roman saints on the
Scottish Catholic Kalendar than on the Kalendar of any country of
its size in Europe.
The Order of St. Columba was one of the most extensive, for
it had a hundred monasteries and abbeys belonging to it in the
British islands. The principal house or head of the Order was at
lona. It was in this lonely island that St. Columba, who was a
priest and monk only, received the homage of mitred bishops and
In the time of Venerable Bede, about the year 731, all the
bishops of the Picts were subject to the jurisdiction of the priest
that was Abbot of lona. Kings sought advice, and received both
counsel and consolation from St. Columba. Fierce warriors, bitter
enemies, proud and haughty chieftains, were reconciled, and ab-
solved on bended knee before him. Feuds and contentions were
abandoned and obliterated before St. Columba. In his presence
mutual friendship and goodwill were entered on, and sealed by oath
on three stones. As these stones correspond in number with the
three Divine persons of the blessed Trinity, it is possible that St.
Columba might have pointed them out, or even used them in some
religious sense, so as to make a lasting impression on the minds of
the newly reconciled parties, and incline them, for the rest of their
lives, to recoil with horror from participating in the acts of belli-
gerents. History and legend seem to be mutually silent on this
The Monks of lona. 61
point ; therefore, let this view of swearing on the " Three black
stones of lona," be received for what it is worth.
Thus we find St. Coluinba had the power of binding the hands
and the hearts of the most determined enemies. He exercised his
power in preventing wars, and in pacifying all manner of human
turbulence. We find the kings, the courts, and the people of the
surrounding nations had reposed unbounded confidence in him.
Yet in the very midst of this, much more than regal power could
bestow, we find that his palace was a hut, built of planks, and there
up to an advanced age, he slept upon the hard floor, only with a stone
for a pillow. Thither he returned after performing his share of out-
door labour with the other monks, and there he patiently transcribed
the sacred text of Scripture. When he had come to the thirty-
third Psalm, he stopped and said, " Baithean will write the rest."
On the next morning he hastened before the other monks to the
church, and knelt before the altar, and there he died, in the arms of
Diarmad, blessing all his disciples, on the 9th day of- June, 597.
" To us," says Montalembert, ' ' looking back, he appears a person
as singular as he is loveable, in whom, through all the mists of the
past, and all the cross lights of legend, the man may be still recog-
nised under the Saint." " For two centuries/' says Dr. S. M'Corry,
" after his death, lona was the most venerated sanctuary of the
Celts, the nursery of bishops, and the centre of learning and reli-
gious knowledge. Seventy kings or princes were brought to lona, to
be buried at the feet of St. Columba, faithful to a traditional custom,
the remembrance of which has been preserved by Shakespeare :
' Where is Duncan's body 1 '
asks Rose, in Macbeth. Macduff replies
' Carried to Colme's Kill, the
Sacred storehouse of his predecessors,
And guardian of their bones.' "
A kindred expression of thought has been placed on record by
the bi-linguist poet, Evan MacColl, formerly of Lochfineside, but
latterly tuning his lyre to the rustling of the " Green Maple Tree "
in Canada. In one of his plaintive Odes to lona, MacColl says :
" Sacred Isle of lona,
Where saints and heroes
Live in stone."
It is admitted by critics that Dr. Johnson wrote one of the
finest pieces in the English language on lona. Wordsworth, and a
host of master-minds, wrote on lona.
" The distinguished archaeologist," says Dr. Stewart M'Corry,
62 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
" Dr. Keeves, who, although not a catholic, has proved his honesty
of purpose by editing so well ' Adamnan's Life of St. Columba,'
has given us in his ' Chronicon Hyenese' the detailed chronology of
the forty -nine successors of St. Columba from 597 to 1219. We
have it on the best possible authority that the first eleven abbots of
lona after St. Columba proceeded, with the exception of one indi-
vidual, from the same stock as himself from the race of Tirconnel,
and were all descended from the same son of Neall of the nine
hostages, the famous king of all Ireland."
I will now make a few remarks about St. Baithean. He was
steward of lona, and succeeded St. Columba as Abbot of lona. It
is stated that Baithean consecrated the burying-ground of my na-
tive valley, Strathglass. Be that as it may, it is quite certain that
the cill or clachan in Strathglass is dedicated to St. Baithean. There
is a small green mound close to the cill or clachan called Cnoc
Bhaithean, at the foot of which gushes out a spring of the clearest
and coldest water, also called Fuaran Bhaithean. The legend
relaters of the district state that a clodhopper began to cut rinds for
thatch on the brow of Cnoc Bhaithean. A well-meaning neighbour
reminded him that the mound was considered sacred, as bearing the
name of Cnoc Bhaithean. The scornful and contumelious reply
the neighbour received from the insolent clodhopper was " 0,
Baithean maol carrach bhuaininn foid eadar a bhial 's a shroin." Ann
am priobadh an roisg, thuit an duine truagh, iuar marbh thairis air
crasg a chaibe-lair a bha na lamhan fhein. The English equiva-
lent of the reply, and the immediate result thereof, may be taken as
the following " 0, Bald scald-headed Baithean, I would cut a sod
between his mouth and his nose." In the twinkling of an eye, the
miserable man fell lifeless over the cross-handles of the rind-spade
he had in his own hands. The sceptic will exclaim, who cares for
misty legends ! The Kev. Dr. Steward M'Corry tells us that Mil-
man, in his Latin Christianity, Vol. L, p. 415, writes "History,
to be true, must condescend to speak the language of legend."
Nicholas Carlisle is answerable for the appearance of the following
statement regarding lona in his " Topographical Dictionary of Scot-
land," London, 1813 " The Chapel of the Nunnery is now used by
the inhabitants as a kind of general cow-house, and the bottom is
consequently too miry for examination. Some of the stones which
covered the later Abbesses have inscriptions, which might yet be
read if the Chapel were cleaned. The Cemetery of the Nunnery
was, till very lately, regarded with such reverence that only women
were buried in it. Besides the two principal churches, there are, T
think, five chapels yet standing, and three more remembered."
The Monks oflona. 63
Carlisle continues the sickening narrative, and states that " the wood
forming the roof of the churches and chapels in lona, was the first
plunder of needy rapacity." For the honour of our country I wish
we could suppose that Mr. Carlisle had been misinformed about
the unroofing of the churches and chapels in lona.
It is not my intention to lead you at present through the roof-
less but noble ruins of the cathedral and churches of lona, the
walls of which have been described in a leading journal as " riddled
and cracked in a most alarming manner." Neither shall we be
seen along with tramping tourist and brousing cattle defacing the
tombs, and disturbing the ashes of the saintly, princely, and heroic
dead in the consecrated cemetery.
In the Irish annals there is preserved a short account of events
in lona, carried on from year to year. Under date of A.D. 794, there is
this entry " Devastation of all the islands by the heathens." From
this time forward, during a period of no less than three hundred
years, lona was frequently ravaged, its churches and monasteries
burnt, and its brethren murdered by the savage Northmen. It is
stated that the bones of St Columba were carried to safer places
to Kells in Ireland, and to Dunkeld in Scotland.
lona was the only place spared by Magnus, King of Norway,
in his predatory expedition of A.D. 1098. The fierce King Magnus
is said to have recoiled with awe when he had attempted to enter
the church built by the Saintly English Princess, Queen Margaret,
wife of Malcolm Ceanmore.
The recent improvements in and around St. Mungo's Cathedral
in Glasgow are attributed to a happy remark, vouchsafed by Her
Majesty Queen Victoria, on Her Majesty's visit to that cathedral
during the Royal Tour through the West Highlands. Some of us
had fondly expected that Her Majesty would have been graciously
pleased to extend her queenly journey, and steer her royal bark
to lona's Isle. Thus we flattered ourselves to hear that Queen
Victoria, like Queen Margaret, had landed on the hallowed Isle of
From that auspicious moment we expected to have heard that
an edict had gone forth warning the elements, saying in effect this
is the oldest Christian temple in Great Britain. The work of
destruction and dilapidation must cease instanter, and henceforth
give place to preservation and restoration.
Sin agaibh brlgh mo sgeoil.
64 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
19iH FEBRUARY, 1879.
At the meeting on this date the principal business was the
reading of the following paper by Mr. James Barren, of the
Inverness Courier, on
THE CELTIC PKOVINCE OF MOEAY.
The history of the Celtic Province of Moray takes us back to a
remote period, on which the light is dim and fitful. All that any
one can do is to endeavour to ascertain the probable nature of move-
ments, the details of which are obscure and to most modern readers
possessing but feeble interest. The facts in the following paper are
mainly derived from Mr. Skene's " Celtic Scotland," and Mr.
Anderson's " Orkneyinga Saga," but they are of course applied to
special purposes, and made the basis of inferences for which these
authorities are not responsible. I may say that our retrospect in-
cludes the period from the seventh century to the twelfth, but
before entering on the narrative a few preliminary observations are
In the first place, it is assumed that the so-called Picts of the
early centuries of our era were Celts the ancestors of the race
that still inhabits the Scottish Highlands. Modern inquiry seems
to establish this beyond reasonable doubt. Although we cannot
enter into the controversy, it may be pointed out that a king of the
Picts had undoubtedly a royal seat at Inverness in the middle of
the sixth century ; and, when a few centuries later the district
becomes familiar to histor} r , the inhabitants are found to be a
purely Celtic people. There is nothing whatever to show that in
the interval the Gael destroyed and supplanted an older race ;
while on the contrary there is a good deal to show that the natives
continued to carry on a warfare, varying in fortune, but on the
whole fairly successful, first with Irish immigrants, then with
Angles or Saxons, and latterly with ferocious Norsemen. As the
territory has been occupied by Celts throughout the entire period of
authentic history, it would require very clear evidence to demon-
strate that the Picts and Caledonians of the immediately preceding
centuries were a different race. To clinch the argument, Mr. Skene
furnishes a list of about 150 Pictish words, a portion of which are
purely Irish or Gaelic in their forms, while the rest show an ad-
mixture of other Celtic tongues.
The Komans finally quitted the island of Britain in 410, and
for centuries thereafter, so far as there is any record at all, the
The Celtic Province of Moray. 65
history is a succession of struggles either between native tribes
and principalites, or between Celts and Teutonic assailants. The
purest and most conservative Celts seem to have been the in-
habitants of the district now known as the counties of Inverness
and Koss. Viewed on a large scale, the history of the Highlands
is the history of Celtic resistance to foreign inroads and foreign
usages. Many of the wars waged by the northern Gael against
the early Scottish kings arose from the devotion of the people to
their own customs and laws of succession, and their hatred of
practices introduced by the monarchs under English and Norman
influences. There are three marked periods in these struggles.
The first is the reign of William the Lion, who succeeded after
repeated and severe efforts in quelling the spirit of the north ; and
the decisive battle was fought in 1187, while the headquarters of
the king were established at Inverness. The discontent and turbu-
lence of the middle ages received a decisive check by the memorable
battle of Harlaw, in 1411. Once again the Celts had another
chance in the conflict between the Stuarts and their Parliaments,
and the revolution which placed the house of Hanover on the
British throne. We all know that this third rising ended in the
disastrous field of Culloden, and the ravages and proscriptions of
In rapidly tracing the early history, it is necessary to remark
that we regard Inveiness as having been the centre of the native
northern state. The town itself was probably nothing more than a
cluster of huts, and perhaps it did not occupy exactly its present
site ; but indications are not wanting that in this neighbourhood
there existed what was in some sort a native capital The central
situation of the spot supports the supposition, and the abundant
archaeological remains with which we are familiar, are not without
significance in the same connection. But further we know, as 1
have said, that a king of the Picts in the sixth century had his
residence at Inverness ; and five centuries afterwards Macbeth had
a stronghold here. The conqueror of Macbeth, Malcolm Canmore,
is said to have erected a fortified place on the present Castle Hill :
and soon after his day the Castle of Inverness was the most im-
portant stronghold in the northern part of the kingdom. It
is clear that the town, which became a royal burgh in the twelfth
century, was not then a new creation. Its importance was only
then recognised by William the Lion, and it had previously been
mentioned by David I. as one of the local capitals of the realm.
We do not say that in early days Inverness was a populous place ;
but there seems little reason to doubt that it was the residence of
66 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
leading chiefs or princes, and in all probability the capital of Moray-
After the departure of the Romans, a century and a-half elapsed
of which little is really known. It appears, however, that about
the year 498 or 500, a colony of Scots came over from Ire-
land and settled in Kintyre. These Scots were Christians, and the
northern Picts were heathens ; but in 563 Columba arrived at lona,
and he and his successors converted the Picts to Christianity. The
visit of Columba to King Brude, at his palace near the river N"ess,
does not enter into the scope of the present paper. What then is
the state of matters which we find existing in Scotland in the
seventh century ? We find four kingdoms three of which are
Celtic, and one Teutonic. The largest of these consisted of the
Picts, who occupied the greater part of the territory north of the
Firth of Foith ; then we have the Scots, who occupied the greater
part of what is now Argyllshire ; then the Britons, whose territory
extended along the west from Clyde to Cumberland ; and, lastly,
the Ai gles, who held the east coast from the Forth to the Humber.
The Picts, though nominally united, consisted of two divisions
one lying to the north, and the other to the south of the Grampians ;
or, perhaps more exactly, one to the north, and the other to the east
and south of the Spey. Considering the nature of the country and
the tribal character of Celtic communities, it is not likely that the
union between the two parts was ever very strong ; but they seem
at times to have recognised the same sovereign, and the feeling of
race or nationality was decided enough to induce them to combine
against a common enemy. The southern Picts were subjected to
the more frequent attacks, and they were more liable than their
northern confederates to have their customs gradually broken down
by contact or collision with aggressive neighbours. To this fact is
to be attributed the separation which ultimately took place between
the two sections of the Pictish race, and the greater tenacity with
which our northern forefathers clung to their native forms of law
Uhe order of royal succession among the Picts is acknowledged
to have been peculiar. Brothers might succeed one another, but
failing these, the relationship was reckoned through the female line.
The list of monarchs, we are told, " does not present a single
instance of a son directly succeeding his father." When brothers
failed, the throne passed to the sons of sisters, or to the nearest
male relation on the female side. In the Scottish kingdom of
Argyllshire the custom was different. There the law of Tanistry pre-
vailed ; that is, the most competent male member of the royal house
The Geltic Province of Moray. 67
was chosen, under the name of Tanist, to lead the armies and to suc-
ceed to the crown. Latterly, under the influence of the Teutonic
element, the succession from father to son began to prevail south of
the Grampians, and the resistance to this innovation led to frequent
and sanguinary contests. Here again it may he desirahle to point
out that the northern Celts were, as we should expect, the last to
acquiesce in the new order of things.
The struggles between the four kingdoms were fierce and pro-
tracted. The Argyllshire or Dalriadic Scots maintained a long
friendship with the northern Picts, but to the east and south they,
for a time, carried everything before them. Their conquering career
however was brought to a close in 642, when their king, Donald
Breac, was slain in a battle with the Britons of Strathclyde. Next
the^Angles obtained supremacy, extending their empire over Strath-
clyde, Dalriada, and the southern Picts. During this period the
northern Picts, sheltered behind the Grampians, retained their
independence. The tribes of the north selected as their king a
scion of the royal house named Bredei, who is recorded to have laid
siege, in 680, to Dunbeath, in Caithness. He is also said to have
laid waste the Orkney Islands, and turning southwards he attempted,
in concert with the Dalriadic Scots, to make head against Ecgi'rid,
the powerful Anglican King. In the plains of the Lowlands he
had little chance of success, but Ecgfrid had the temerity to ad-
vance northwards, and in 685 he was cut off with his army in
attempting to penetrate the mountain chain at Dunnichen, in
Forfarshire. Bredei once more united the Picts, but the connection
between south and north appears to have been looser than ever.
Religious dissensions helped forward separation. The Columbau
Church had hitherto been independent of .Rome, but the latter was
gradually pushing its way northward from England. The date for
the observance of Easter was a source of constant dispute, and in
710 King Nectan submitted to Rome and adopted Latin customs.
Not content with this, he expelled the Columban clergy from
the southern districts, where his authority was supreme, and the
exiles sought refuge among the Scots, and probably also in the
more remote districts of the northern Picts. It would be superfluous
to dwell upon this ecclesiastical quarrel here ; we merely note it as
another of the forces which tended to break up the unity of the
Angus, a powerful king of the Picts, who reigned from 731 to
761, conquered the Scots and turned Dalriada into a Pictish pro-
vince. Sometime afterwards, about 780, there occurred, according
to Mr. Skene, the first distinct breach in the Pictish law of sue-
68 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
cession. Through contact and occasional alliance with the Saxons,
the southern Picts were now becoming familiar with alien practices,
and they accordingly chose Talorgan, the son of Angus, to be their
sovereign, while the northern provinces adhered to a king named
Drest, who, we may presume, was according to their law the
legitimate monarch. The breach appears to have been healed, but
soon the attacks of a new foe distracted the weakly-compacted
kingdom. In 793 the Norsemen descended upon the island of
Lindisfarne, and for a long period they continued periodically to
alarm and devastate the country. Orkney became an important
seat of their power ; Caithness became the patrimony of a iX orse
earl. Norse vessels carried terror along the west coast and through-
out the western islands, where fur a time the invaders were supreme.
The shores of the Moiay Firth became the scene of frequent visita-
tions, and indeed all parts of the coast, east and west, suffered from
these piratical inroads. During the period of confusion and anarchy
which occurred, a new dynasty established itself south of the
Grampians. Kenneth Macalpin, a Dalriadic Scot, but connected in
some way with the Pictish royal family, made good his claims with
the sword. In 844 he became firmly seated on the throne, and
founded a line of sovereigns who succeeded one another according
to the law of Tanistry. But Mr. Skene shows that their power
was confined at first to the provinces of the southern Picts, and
their enemies were for a long time too numerous to permit any
extension of their sovereignty over the northern provinces.
We have now in some measure disentangled the history of our
northern district, and may continue to follow more closely its indi-
vidual fortunes. Our position is that from the first the union be-
tween the northern and southern Picts was but a slight confederacy
that from the nature of the country and the known customs of Celtic
tribes, it could not well have been otherwise ; that in course of time
the connection was weakened by transformations among the southern
Picts ; and that during the anarchy in the middle of the ninth cen-
tury, the northern district, or so much of it as the Norse did not
actually conquer, became virtually independent The great northern
province was Moravia, or Moray, which seems to have extended, in
its widest sense, from the river Spey on the east, to the watershed
of the present county of Eoss on the west ; and from Loch Lochy
on the south, to the Kyle of Sutherland on the north. From the
few indications that exist it is natural to infer we should say it is
almost certain that Inverness was the capital of this region. The
native rulers, styled Maormors sometimes, indeed, called Kings
had by no means an easy position. The Norse power, which had
The Ce/t/c Province of Moray. 69
established its footing in Caithness and Sutherland, pressed them
on the one side, the Scottish Kings on the other ; and the recollec-
tion of this simple fact will help to clear up much that would
otherwise be unintelligible in our early local history. We may be-
lieve that the princes of Moray and their people cherished an al-
most equal dislike to their northern and southern foes. The one
was a race of pirates, the other of degenerate Celts ; and the prim-
ary duty of the Moraymen was to preserve their own independence
and the purity of their native laws. Unfortunately, the Maormor
of Moray was unable to cope single-handed either with the Earl of
Caithness and Orkney, or with the King of Scotia. In times of
extremity he was obliged to ally himself with the one or the other,
to help the Norsemen against the Scots, or the Scots against the
Norsemen. The sea-kings with their swift vessels were at first his
most dreaded antagonists. The kings of Scotia were more remote
and had other affairs on hand ; but when they found opportunity,
they were not slow in advancing sovereign claims and pushing their
arms beyond the mountains. It was only after long resistance that
these claims were made good by the superiority of the southerns
in resources and armament. We shall see that Macbeth, the most
famous Maormor of Moray, had no scruple in ally ing himself with the
Norsemen, in order to get rid of King Duncan, and effect a partition
of the kingdom.
The first Norse leader who over-ran Moray was Thorstein the
Ked (875), a son of the Norse king of Dublin. His power, how-
ever, only lasted for a single year ; and the next successful invader
was Sigurd, the first Earl of Orkney, who flourished towards the
close of the same century. He over-ran Caithness, Sutherland,
Ross, and Moray, and built a tower at a spot which is conjectured
to have been Burghead. His chief antagonist was Maelbrigda the
Toothed, Maormor of Moray. Both came to an untimely end.
They had agreed to meet in conference, each with a guard of forty
men, but Sigurd, professing to be afraid of treachery, mounted
eighty men on forty horses. Maelbrigda advancing to meet him
detected the deception, and at once resolved to fight, exclaiming
" let us be brave and kill each his man before we die." At Sigurd's
command half his men dismounted to attack the enemy in rear ;
and the Celtic chief and all his party being overpowered by numbers
were slain. Sigurd and his followers fastened the heads of their
victims to their saddle straps and rode away in triumph. But the
feature which had given Mselbrigda his designation was the means
of retribution. In kicking at his horse, Sigurd scratched his leg
with the protruding tooth, and the wound proved fatal. The body
70 Gaelic Society of Inverness-
of the Earl was buried in a mound at a place called Ekkialsbakki,
the site of which is uncertain. B.ikki meaning bank, Mr. Ander-
son indentih'es the name with the river Oykell (" Bank of the
Oykell") which divides the counties of Eoss and Sutherland, and
falls into the Dornoch Firth. The exact spot he considers to be
Cyderhall, a name which is a corruption of Siddera, that in its turn
being a contraction for Siwardhoch, the designation given to the
place in a deed of the thirteenth cenlury.x Mr. Skene takes a
different view. From an examination of the narrative he arrives at
the conclusion that the meeting between Sigurd and Majlbrigda
must have taken place near the southern boundary of Moray. He
is also of opinion that the tight occurred in the neighbourhood of
Forres, and that the remarkable sculptured stone near that town is
a record of it. The stone appears to tell the tale which has just
been narrated. Among the representations upon it is a leader with
a head hanging at his girdle, followed by three trumpeters sounding
for victory, and surrounded by decapitated bodies and human heads.
Mr. Skene believes Ekkialsbakki to mean the banks of the Find-
horn. When digging into a mound close to the Forres pillar, in
1813, eight human skeletons were found, and in 1827 there was dug
out of a steep bank above the river a coffin of large dimensions,
composed of flagstones, containing the remains of a human skeleton.
Whatever supremacy Sigurd may have established, it does not
seem to have survived his death. The native chiefs of Moray re-
sumed their independence, although they still, no doubt, had con-
flicts to sustain with the great and aggressive northern power. The
southern monarchy was also ambitious of extending its sway. It
is recorded that Malcolm [942-954] made the first attempt to push
the power of the kings of Scotia beyond the Spey. He invaded the
province of Moray and slew its ruler, Cellach, but does not appear
to have made a conquest. A little later the Scottish kings extended
claims to Caithness, but their dominion there was at first even more
shadowy than in Moray. Such pretensions are natural to an aspir-
ing central monarchy, and in the end generally come to be realised.
Caithness and Orkney were not always under the same earl. After
a temporary separation they were re-united by the marriage of
Thorfinn, the skull-cleaver, with the daughter of Duncan, jarl of
Caithness. A series of quarrels occurred among their sons, which
are only notable in so far as that one of the claimants received the
support of Magbiodr, Maormor of Moray, and the Kino; of Scotia.
Their assistance, however, was unavailing. The brother in posses-
sion triumphed; and soon afteiwards his nephew, a second Sigurd,
who entered on? the earldom about the year 980, re-established the
The Celtic Province of Moray. 7 1
supremacy of the Norsemen over the north of Scotland and the
western islands. The conquest, of course, was not accomplished
without a severe struggle. Finlay, another Maormor of Moray,
brother to Magbiodr, collected a large force and entered Caithness.
At first Sigurd was unable to cope with him. There were seven
Scotsmen for one Norwegian odds which even the bold Scandi-
navian rovers were unable to face. To gain assistance, Sigurd pro-
pitiated the Orkney freeholders by restoring lands which they had
resigned to his greatgrandfather; and with augmented forces, he
attacked the Scots and completely defeated them. The mainland
was now open for an advance ; and in a few years the authority of
Sigurd was acknowledged from the Pentland to the Spey. The
King of Scotland continued the struggle with great spirit, but in
the end the rivals came to terms and formed an alliance. The
friendship was cemented by the marriage of the Norse chief with a
daughter of Malcolm II. Sigurd, born a heathen, was converted
to Christianity by a peculiar process. Olaf Tryggveson, the first
Christian King of Norway, returning from an expedition in 997,
seized the Earl as he lay under the island of Hoy with a single
ship. Being offered the choice of baptism or death, Sigurd chose
to declare himself a convert, and became nominally a subject of King
Olaf. Yet seventeen years afterwards, at the battle of Clontarff, in
Ireland, we find him fighting in the ranks of the heathen, and piling
the field with Christian dead. In the heat of the contest Sigurd
was cut down by the Irish champion, Murcadh, and his fall was the
signal for the flight of the Norwegians.
We now approach a period of peculiar interest in the history of
Moray. On the death of Sigurd, the province resumed its old posi-
tion, and its Maormor, Finlay, is described in the Ulster annals
under a kingly title, indicating that he claimed to be independent
of both his neighbours. In 1020 he was slain by his nephews ;
but he was succeeded in his semi-sovereignty by his son Macbeth,
whose name has obtained such singular prominence in history and
dramatic literature. In 1034, King Malcolm of Scotland died,
leaving two grandsons who were destined to be fierce opponents.
Duncan, the heir to the throne, was the son of a princess married
to Criuan, abbot of Dunkeld ; while Thorfinn, Earl of Caithness
and Orkney, was the offspring of another daughter, married, as we
have seen, to Earl Sigurd. Macbeth was in a difficult position,
placed as he was between the two ambitious cousins. His own wife
was connected with the Scottish royal house, being either the sister
or the near kinswoman of a prince whom King Duncan's grand-
father had slain. The presumption is that this unfortunate prince
1*1 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
was, according to the custom of the times, a dangerous rival to the
succession of Duncan. Thus Macbeth, through his wife, had a feud
with the dynasty which circumstances might at any moment quicken
Thorfinn, Earl of Caithness, was a man of energy and capacity,
well-fitted to hold his own in those wild times. He was only five
years old when his father died, and at fourteen he was, a leader of
maritime expeditions, ready, as his bard said, " to defend his own
land, or to ravage in another's." He is described as a man of very
large stature, uncomely, sharp-featured, dark haired, sallow, and
swarthy. Avaricious, harsh, cruel, and clever; greedy of wealth
and renown ; bold and successful in war, and a great strategist
such are the epithets in which his character and powers are summed
up. Thorfinn had three half-brothers older than himself, among
whom the Orkneys were divided, while he received the Earldom of
Caithness. The death of two of his brothers, and an alliance with
the third, put him in possession of the islands, and thus he became
a great chief like his father Sigurd. His cousin Duncan, suspicious
of his growing power, wished to dispossess him of Caithness, or at
least to lay it under tribute. Earl Thorfinn refused to part with
any of his rights, and so war broke out. Duncan nominated a
nephew of his own, named Moddan, to be Earl of Caithness, and
sent him down to collect forces in Sutherland. This seems to have
been the beginning of the conflict in which King Duncan was to
lose kingdom and life.
In such a struggle it was important to secure the assistance of
the great Maormor of Moray. We may believe that Macbeth aided
Duncan from the outset. The Norsemen were the nearest and most
bitter foes of the Moravian Celts. In former times they had once
and again overrun the province, and Macbeth, like King Duncan,
must have viewed the increasing power of Thorfinn with great dis-
trust. If Duncan claimed his service as a tributary chief, Macbeth
probably waived such questions for the present, in order to deal
with his dangerous enemy in Caithness. But whatever the actual
circumstances were, we see no reason to doubt that the Maormor of
Moray was an ally of the king, and thus by his subsequent conduct
laid himself open to the charge of treachery, which has ever been
associated with his name. Without having a base of operations on
the south side of the Moray Firth, King Duncan could scarcely
have carried on the war in the far north. The precise relation of
Sutherland to the northern rivals seems uncertain. Very probably
the people of that district detested Norse rule, so that it was easy
for Moddan to obtain support among them.
The Ce/tic Province of Moray. 73
Thorfinn possessed a valuable coadjutor in Thorkel Fostri, who
is described as the most accomplished man in all the Orkneys. He
was bold and capable ; be had spoken up for the freeholders against
the tyranny of a former Earl, and Mfelng compelled to flee, he took
up his residence in Caithness, and became foster-father to Thorfinn,
who was then young. It was mainly through this man's influence
that Thorfinn gradually extended his authority over the Orkneys.
When the dispute occurred between the Earl and his royal cousin,
Thorkel raised a strong force in the Orkney islands, and crossed to
the mainland, and Duncan's vassal, Moddan, found himself obliged
to retire. The Norse army carried its victorious arms through
Sutherland and Ross, and returned with great plunder to Duncans-
bay. The Scottish King determined on a more formidable attack.
Moddan was again despatched with troops to Caithness, while the
King with a fleet of eleven vessels sailed northwards along the
coast. Thorfinn had only five warships, but he gave battle in the
Pentland Filth, and inflicted a severe defeat upon, his opponent.
Thorfinn is depicted, of course by friendly chroniclers, as taking an
active personal part in the fight, cheering on his men, and urging
them to board the enemy's ships. He grappled with the royal
vessel itself, and, shouting for his banner, rushed on board. King
Duncan escaped by jumping into another boat, and hurrying off as
fast as oars could carry him. The spirited description of the tight
by Thorfinn's bard may be quoted :
" Then the ships were lashed together
Know ye how the men were falling ?
All their swords and boards were swimming
In the life-blood of the Scotsmen ;
Hearts were sinking bowstrings screaming,
Darts were flying spear shafts bending ;
Swords were biting, blood flowed freely,
And the Prince's heart was merry."
King Duncan escaped to the coast of Moray, and hastened south
to collect a fresh army. In the interval, the Xorse enjoyed rare op-
portunities for plundering, and the ambitious Moddan the rival
Earl of Caithness came to an untimely end. While the Norse-
men were ravaging in Moray, they heard that Moddan had estab-
lished himself with a large anny at Thurso, and was awaiting more
troops from Ireland. The ever-ready Thorkel Fostri was equal to the
occasion. He marched north secretly, we are told, and was befriended
by the inhabitants of Caithness, who were true and faithful to him ;
" and no news went of his journey," says the story, " till he came
74 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
to Thurso by night, and surprised Earl Moddan in a house,
which they set on tire. Moddan was asleep in an upper storey,
and jumped out ; but as he jumped down from the stair, Thorkel
hewed at him with a sword, and it hit him on the neck, and took
off his head. After this his men surrendered, but some escaped
by flight. Many were slain, but some received quarter." After
this feat, Thorkel rejoined his chief with all the men he could collect
in Sutherland, Caithness, and Ross.
Meantime King Duncan hurried north with a powerful army,
collected from all parts of Scotland, and including the forces which
Earl Moddan had expected from Ireland. Mr. Skene conjectures
that Macbeth now tilled the place which Moddan had formerly
occupied as leader of the King's army. The battle took place at a
spot called Torfnes, which Mr. Anderson supposes to be Tarbetness,
but which Mr. Skene believes to be Burghead. " The Scots," to
quote the Saga once more, " were by f,ir the most numerous. Earl
Thorfinn was among the foremost of his men ; he had a gold-plated
helmet on his head, a sword at his belt, and a spear in his hand,
and he cut and thrust with both hands. It is even said that he
was foremost of all his men. He first attacked the Irish division,
and so fierce were he and his men, that the Irish were immediately
routed, and never regained their position. Then King Kali* had
his standard brought forward against Earl Thorfinn, and there was
the fiercest struggle for a while ; but it ended in the flight of the
king, and some say he was slain." It is added that Thorfinn
conquered as far as Fife ; and he became so enraged at a threatened
insurrection, that he harried the country, leaving scarcely a hut
standing. In the words of the Norse bard, " the flames devoured
the homesteads," and the Scottish kingdom meaning, we suppose,
the eastern Lowlands " was reduced to smoking ashes." " After
this," adds our authority, " Thorfinn went through Scotland to the
north until he reached his ships, and subdued the country where-
ever he went, and did not stop till he came to Caithness, where
he spent the winter ; but every season after that he went out on
expeditions, and plundered in the summer time with all his men."
Two observations may be made at this point ; one that Macbeth
is not mentioned in the Saga, and the other that King Duncan is
not designated by his historical name, but is spoken of as King
Kali Hunclason, the son of the hound. Mr. Anderson, therefore,
does not absolutely identify Kali with Duncan, although he ac-
knowledges the probability that they were one and the same. Mr.
* This is the name given to Duncan in the Saga.
The Celtic Province of Moray. 75
Skene, however, expresses little doubt on the point ; and unless
the annalists are entirely wrong in their dates, there seems in reality
no doubt possible. At the time when, according to the Saga, this
war occurred, Duncan was unquestionably king of Scotland. All
the other known circumstances lead to the same conclusion. The
i'act that Macbeth is not mentioned in the Saga is of no impor-
tance, for the Norse chroniclers were not likely to pay any attention
to him or his doings.
The question now arises, What part did Macbeth really act at
the crisis of the war ? That he joined Thorfinn is obvious, for
he afterwards reigned peacefully over a large portion of Scotland,
owing, as is believed, to his alliance with the Norse power. But
when or how did he desert Duncan 1 Of course we are here in the
region of conjecture ; but the story we have been following is not
inconsistent with other narratives, and we must just interpret the
circumstances to the best of our ability. A contemporary chronicler
states that Duncan was slain in 1040 by his general, Macbeth. It
is probable that, seeing the cause of the King ruined, the Maormor
of Moray determined to forsake his standard and ally himself with
his successful rival. He knew the strength and the ruthlessness of
the Norsemen from the experience of his predecessors ; and though
he could doubtless have found safety amidst the mountain fastnesses
of the interior, he would naturally have been reluctant to become a
defeated and broken-down fugitive. He was also an ambitious man ;
and revolving all the chances and difficulties of the situation, he
may well have resolved to sacrifice the Scottish sovereign to his
own desires or necessities. If he wanted to make his peace with
Thorfinn, what more acceptable gift could he bring than the head
of King Duncan 1 Besides, as we have seen, the southern king-
dom had been pressing its own claims over Morayland. Macbeth
had no wish to be subordinate to the King of Scotia. He held
that he was himself an independent prince ; and here was a good
opportunity once for all to destroy Scottish pretensions, or perhaps,
if Thorfinn was favourable, to seize upon the Scottish throne. His
wife, desirous to avenge her kinsman, doubtless encouraged such
projects. Thus influenced, it is reasonable to suppose that Macbeth
slew Duncan after the battle, and threw in his lot with Thorfinn.
Their combined forces ravaged the country east and south, and a
partition of the kingdom appears to have followed. The rule of
Thorfinn was acknowledged throughout the district north of the
Grampians, while Macbeth ruled over the central territory. Mr.
Skene thinks that Cumbria and Lothian remained faithful to the
children of Duncan.
7G Gaelic Socieiy of Inverness.
It is useless to discuss the question where King Duncan was
slain. It is certain that he was not assassinated in the present
Cawdor Castle, for that building was not in existence until 400
years after his death. He may have been killed in Macbeth's rath
or stronghold at Inverness, but this is mere conjecture. The older
authorities state that he was murdered near Elgin, at Bothgof uane or
Bothgowan, which is said to be Gaelic for a blacksmith's hut. If
the decisive battle took place at Burghead, there is nothing improb-
able in believing that he was killed in a wayside hut, while fleeing
from the victorious Norsemen.
The reign of Macbeth extended to seventeen years, and was
comparatively peaceful and prosperous. The power of Thorfinn
helped to render his throne secure ; but something must also have
been due to the Conservative elements still existing in the Scottish
kingdom. The innovations which had been previously introduced
could not have failed to create a certain measure of discontent.
The old Pictish law of succession through the female line had been
abandoned ; the law of Tanistry had next been undermined by
Teutonic influences ; and to the southern Celts it may have been
satisfactory to obtain a Gaelic king like Macbeth, especially as he
was connected by his wife with their own royal family. Macbeth
was in reality the last truly Celtic king of Scotland. By the oldest
writers he is represented as a liberal and popular sovereign. He
and his queen twice gave grants of land to the Culdees of Loch-
Leven, and Macbeth and Thorfinn appear to have visited Kome in
1050, where the Scottish king freely distributed silver to the poor.
Several attempts were made to dethrone him, but until 1057 with-
out success. In that year Malcolm Canmore, advancing from Nor-
thumberland, attacked him with a powerful force. Macbeth was
driven across the Mounth, and slain at Lumphanan in Marr, where
there is still a large cairn known as Cairnbeth. The causes of
Malcolm's success are uncertain. The only conjecture Mr. Skene
can offer is that the warlike Thorfinn was dead and the Norse power
The events that followed Macbeth's death were shortly narrated
by the essayist. By his victory in 1187, William the Lion
strengthened the central authority ; and the castles which he built
at Eedcastle and Dunscath (on the north side of the Cromarty Firth)
overawed the spirit of the north-eastern Celts. Disturbances oc-
curred often enough in subsequent times ; but, on the whole, after
his day the power of the Scottish throne was generally acknow-
ledged in Morayland.
The Cosmos of the A nclent Gaels. 77
12TH MARCH, 1879.
The paper before the meeting on this date was by Mr. Donald
Koss, M.A., H.M. Inspector of Schools, on
THE COSMOS OF THE ANCIENT GAELS IN ITS
EELATION TO THEIR ETHICS.
In attempting to gather up the loose threads of my former
paper, I wish to re-assert with increasing emphasis the preliminary
proposition which forms the necessary introduction to a full under-
standing of the problem under discussion, and my individual stand-
point in reference to it. My purpose was, and now is, in the first
place, to open up from the region of modern criticism an avenue to
the broader and fuller, and at the same time more accurate con-
sideration of the literary heritage of the Gaelic race ; and, secondly,
to show how much this country owes to the general but indefinite
Celtic elements that run through its social economics and political
The subject is a difficult one, and I present the results of some-
what wide research in a wide field with much diffidence. But the
conditions of this fiercely sceptical, hard, and unmerciful age in
which we live, are eminently favourable to a fresh consideration,
from a new standpoint, of a subject around which loose thought and
unsifted literature have grown. We know how an age like this,
with a keen sense for facts, for objective realities, and extracted
truths, contains a hopeful basis of enlarged systems, both within its
own narrow compass and outside of its contents, in the purer and
more generous spirit which, in opposing, supports it. The spirit
of our age may be microscopic, but it is also -hopefully keen within
its own range, and if its vision is directed to what is near and
palpable, it is only to explain the remote and indefinite. Thus we
see, in such works as those of Mr. Skene, for example, a return
to facts and truth, just as we see along the whole line of history the
severance of actuality from the pleasing parasites which a luxuriant
fancy has reared. With its strictness and honesty of research, its
closeness of observation, and rigid reverence for historical canons,
no former age has at all approached ours in its faculty for studying
the widest thought in the most meagre facts, and in its tendency
* For Part I., vide VoL VI., pacje 120.
78 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
to reflect the most ultimate truths in the least general propositions,
through methods peculiarly modern. Hence its aim, perhaps
its highest conscious aim, is to transplant its philosophy from the
region of indefinite intuition and introspective analysis, to that of
history and research amongst the concrete objects of the material
world. But, whilst this is so, the need is ever the same, if not
greater than ever, to keep the reverse of the process in view how
fact vanishes in the light of theory, and how its only solution is in
a meaning beyond it ; and to note that if the direct result of
reverence for facts is a change in the whole aspect of philosophy,
the change after all is only a fresh reading, in a new light, of the
old, old, eternally recurring problem.
I have pointed out how, in the new and harder conditions, one
sharing to some extent the spirit of modern culture and criticism,
and therefore, in some slight measure, the heir of all the ages, has
some fresh aptitude to examine the nature and value of the Gaelic
literary heritage, provided also he has a competent mastery over its
contents. Truth is supreme, and shall prevail. It matters not,
therefore, if the increasing results of my enquiry prove staggering
to my own sympathies, and out of accord with the verdict of my
predecessors in the same field.
I have also drawn attention, though briefly, to the gradual and
silent, but still remarkable change of criticism regarding the rank
and value, as a factor in civilization, of the Celtic elements in these
Isles, and especially regarding the energy of the Gaelic race since it
has got a fair trial to show its better qualities in character and
conduct. The fact gets wider and wider acknowledgment from
more competent authorities, that modern Scotland derives its recent
greatness from Gaelic sources, and that the Gael in becoming a
Teuton in name and appearance, does not sink the better qualities
of his nature in sinking his nationality. As we see how fairly
Matthew Arnold gathers up some of the best of contemporary
thought, when he recommends us to cure our national diseases by
introducing more Celtic virtue, and by profiting by the example of
the gens elite of France, we recur to the dark pictures of books of
travel in Scotland and kindred literature of last century to the
days when between the mental moods of the Gaelic people and the
outer characteristics by which the self-complacent Teuton revealed
the workings of his deeper life, a strong barrier was raised by the
latter in his own favour, when in the pride of that self-complacency
he treated his northern neighbours in the high-handed manner
in which the Greek, in ages when the gospel of brotherhood was
unpreached, despised the menial barbarians with whom he refused
The Cosmos of ihe A ncient Gaels. 79
to share his culture ; or after the fashion in which the Jew isolated
himself in the pride of his traditions from the impure contact of the
In books of travel, in criticism, in general literature of the end
of lasb century and the beginning of this one, this is how
the Celtic heritage was described by English, German, and the
whole tribe of Tudesqua writers : The Celt is an impediment,
vanishing before civilization like the Eed Indian in his prairie.
From the dawn of history, the Celtic races have been centuries in
the rear, hugging crass creeds after more enlightened people
had abandoned them, and solacing themselves with incoherent
superstitions, which sturdier nations regarded as the exuvice of
current beliefs. Even the best articles of their theology are simply
disjointed fragments, charged abundantly with myths and shrouded
in mysteries. Like all weak or negative races, they have always
betaken themselves to riddles, ambiguous prophecy, transparent
pretence, and the gift of second sight ; but whilst, in juggler fashion,
they profess to see through what surrounds their visible universe,
they have no insight into the simplest impulses of their own being ;
and what they do decipher vaguely is not Nature's meaning through
what lies over her, hut her feeblest symbol distorted through the
troubled concrete of un worded imagination. They never valued the
power of silence ; they never knew the energy of calm reserve.
They may have had some graces to dazzle an unthinking enthusiast ;
incoherent eloquence ; impulsive ardour ; showy, but disintegrating
love ; a volcanic tendency to revolt ; but they have been visionaries
dead to the laws of fact, frantic seers, pretentious bards, with little
faculty for the objectively real, and less for the subjectively true ;
and when not dreamers, they have been scourges in lands which
they failed to conquer or till. With singular inaptitude for facts,
and for the discipline of large organizations, the best, the most law-
abiding of them, have seldom got beyond a melancholy wail, except
when passion, the attribute of animal nature, has driven them into
fits of revenge. The very brilliancy of the race has been nickering ;
and to their own meagre hopes they have not been loyal. Till they
hecome sober-minded, steady of purpose, practical, and endowed
with a moderate share of the persistence which routine creates, they
can have no kindred with the friends of progress or social reform.
But, as they fail to see the line between the uncertain world within
and the solid world without, their facts are encrusted all over with
fancies, their histories elude the recognized canons of research, their
language is a fitting article for savage imagery, and crude conglom-
erate thinking ; their philosophies are audacious myths or shreds
80 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
of savage survivals, and their much vaunted poetry is stolen or
appropriated from more fertile fields whenever it happens to rise
above the dignity of scurrilous twaddle, or to extend beyond the
borders of the rude elemental lyric.
No doubt this appears to contain a fierce indictment against the
Celts. No doubt, also, a certain egotistical class of Celts, ever
ready to thrust themselves before public notice as representa-
tives of a noble race, which they do their utmost to disgrace, merit
this charge. That ignorant type of Highlander, for example who
sees no manly virtue except beneath the kilt, which in his want of
knowledge he calls the national garb who hears no sweet sound
except that of the bagpipes, which he calls our national instrument,
and who finds no poetry except in Gaelic, which lie regards as the
national language whilst making himself the laughing-stock of the
stranger, never fails to proclaim himself also as the apostle of cul-
ture, and as the typical, if not the best, specimen of the Gaelic
people. He is altogether ignorant of the merest elements of his
ancestral history ; he preaches manliness, and toadies to the
nearest lord, or pins himself to the outskirts of the nearest repu-
tation. His function is to ignore facts, and to over-rule the
laws of social polity and natural sequence. He calls himself a re-
former ; and he advocates a return to the ways of our fathers to
the kilt, to the bagpipes, to Gaelic all which he loudly asserts to
possess high national antiquity as well as high national virtues.
When he thrusts his little personality into print, and heralds forth
his miserable creed, every Celtic savant in Europe knows that the
kilt is neither ancient nor Gaelic ; that the bagpipe is Sclavonic,
and not the national instrument of the Gaelic people, and that
Gaelic itself is a very modern and very composite dialect of a very
old family of languages.
This type of Celt, however, very fortunately obtains but little
hearing. He is estimated generally at his value, as we all are, and
the character of the Celtic race is examined without his aid, and in
the full knowledge that he is both an accident and a nuisance. The
change of criticism is in consequence of this great and just. In look-
ing round and round our Gaelic literary heritage, our national in-
stitutions, and the criticism of non-Gaelic races on their rivals, I
gradually got a clearer idea than I ever had before of the source of
much of what is best and purest, and most hopeful in our social
economies. The heritage is both small and singular. It is partly
as yet hovering over the isles and valleys of the west, and we have
good specimens, probably the best specimens of it, in such works as
Leabhar na Feinne and West Highland Tales of Mr. Campbell,
The Cosmos of the A ncient Gaels. 81
the Sean Dana of Dr. Smith, and the mass of broken literature
out of which M'Pherson constructed his Ossian. What is the
meaning of all that national literature ? In going in quest of that
meaning, my guiding prc-supposition was that of law in the develop-
ment and conservation of the smallest as well as greatest fragment.
I recognised the great, but obscured fact, that the world moves within
the grasp of iron necessity, and that chance, a mere name by which
we conceal our ignorance of natural processes, does not enter into
the rise of folk-lore, into the traditional tales of a conservative race,
into their poetry, or even into their rudest lyric or narrowest pro-
verb. The operation of law, definite and supreme, is no doubt a
relation, and with the same care with which we trace it in the
province of chemistry, and in the process of crystallization, it could
be traced in the grotesque commonplaces of Fingalian and kindred
literature, provided only we could look far enough backwards and
outwards into the series of conditioning elements under which they
have assumed their present shape. This literature has drawn its
strange meaning from early ages and through many forms, but cause
and effect enters into its composition as into all besides, and it is as
pliant to general principles and far-reaching laws as a literature of
apparent coherence and orderliness.
One, and that a well known, illustration of this may here be
cited. Nothing ought to be more familiar to any student of
language than the vast changes that are silently going on, and
always have been going on in every language spoken and written.
Should a Highlander of the fourteenth century rise from his grave
and address the Gaelic Society of Inverness in the purest Gaelic of
his time, probably the most enthusiastic member of that learned
body would have the utmost difficulty in understanding his speech ;
but should a Highlander of the fourth century hold forth before
the same audience, it is most certain that not one member, not
even the greatest advocate of the theory of the remote antiquity
of Gaelic, could understand one word of what he might say.
Comparative philology has made such rapid progress in our own
day, such increasing light is being shed on the growth of lan-
guage, and such a mass of clearly ascertained linguistic facts and
principles lies before us, that even the most irreverent of critics
are somewhat chary in making sport of philologists or antiquarians.
Of the extinct language, spoken at Inverness and Swansea probably
before either Gaelic or Welsh came into being, only a few words
such as Cartit, Diuper, Peanfahel, Scolofth, and Ur are known to us
now in their original form ; yet even such a competent, I might
almost add such a sceptical, scholar as Mr Skene, proceeding upon
82 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
dialectic considerations and the ascertained laws of transmutation
within the Celtic languages, not only indicates generally how frag-
ments of the lost Pictish may be restored, but actually reconstructs
a small section (the Four Ancient Books of Wales, vol. I.)
And what is possible in philology is equally possible in the
more intricate sphere of thought The results that I have arrived
at are somewhat staggering. I leave entirely out of view the
published poetry from the age of the redoubtable Iain Lorn and the
fiery Alasdair Mac Mhaighstir Alasdair downwards, with only one
remark. The beautiful translations given of these by Professor
Blackie have, in most cases, no perceptible relation with the
original. They are, in fact, as nearly as possible, original poemlets,
strongly marked with the grace and vivacity of the author of the
Language and Literature of the Scottish Highlands, rather than
translations of the fragments in M'Kenzie. Leaving, however,
modern Gaelic Literature aside, I find the existing literature of the
Highlands both meagre in amount and of a certain unmistakeable
quality. Language and thought go hand in hand; the one is the
best index of the other. If the former be elastic and copious, the
latter cannot be meagre and crude. And in determining the value
of either, we must confine ourselves to the existing facts, and we
must endeavour to understand what these facts mean. Moreover,
we must cast aside all the claims of feeling, and all patriotic senti-
ment before venturing to give any opinion on the merits of a
question which perhaps invokes an excess of sentiment, and conse-
quently of partiality. There is a class of Gaelic eulogists for whom
I have no respect, for they deserve none. The class is, unfortu-
nately, a wide one. It includes hundreds who leave their proper
patronymic in the Highlands, and enter life under the wretched
veil of some Lowland equivalent. It includes scores of clergy-
men and others who would thrust a purely Gaelic education on the
peasantry, and who eject, so far as they can, the old tongue from
their own firesides ; it includes the orators who generally wind up
an inflated eulogium in Gaelic with the ridiculous admission, uttered
in a pompous tone of self-complacency, that they are altogether ig-
norant of the language ; it includes writers who advocate Gaelic as
the highest medium of intellectual and spiritual life, and yet who
are utterly unable to translate a Gaelic sentence into passable
English, or to speak or understand the language of the Highlands ;
and it includes those who, though perhaps good Gaelic scholars, are
unable to read Latin, Greek, German, French, Italian, but in the face
of that defect, proclaim loudly the superiority of Gaelic, with its
small literature, to the vast literary scope of these great languages.
The Cosmos of ihe A ncient Gaels. 83
Whatever has been, or may yet be said of the wide range of Gaelic,
of its structural complexity and high antiquity, of its remarkable
capacity for narrative and descriptive purposes, of its high adapta-
tion for didactic and lyric poetry, the stubborn fact, probably un-
heeded by the prejudiced and the credulous, meets every competent
student of its history and thought, that its existing literary contents
do not support these high claims. It is a singular fact that, when-
ever the evidence is of a more or less negative character, almost all
races claim for their own language an indefinite antiquity. The
Welshman , quite as unblushingly as the most enthusiastic Gael,
asserts that Adam proposed to Eve in his own mother tongue ; the
Provencal peasant, whom I met to-day, is proud of his national
poetry, and in the matter of national boasting puts any Welshman
into the shade ; and the sluggish native of Servia outdoes the na-
tive of Provence in this faculty of exaggeration. Such partial and
such biased evidence, however, must be cast aside. After a careful
scrutiny of all Gaelic fragments upon which. I could lay my hands,
I am convinced that the history, poetry, and shreds of philosophy
wrapt up in Gaelic, represent a lower stage of development, and a
lower level of thinking and conduct than those of Greece in the
age of Hesiod, of Eome in the time of Ennius, of France in the
Kolandic epoch, or of Germany in that of the Nibelungen. This un-
doubtedly indicates a remote antiquity, and many changes. Nemo
repente fuit turpissimus. No more does a race become suddenly
enlightened. The Gaelic people, therefore, have always been in ad-
vance of their literature. It is a race of great energy and vitality,
possessing all the elements of rapid advance. But he is a poor type
of a patriot, as well as an incompetent critic, who rests the moral
character of the race either on the antiquity of their language or its
literature. No other race can be produced out of the whole roll of
history with such capacity for progress allied to so meagre a
The Gaelic language, as we now find it, can be proved to be of
very modern origin. It is highly composite. It contains a large
Latin element, introduced undoubtedly during the middle ages
through the agency of the Latin Church ; a large section of it is of
French origin, and this also is comparatively modern. The roving
Norsemen, who so frequently visited our shores, left their impress,
not only on the literature, but also on the topography of the country,
markedly in Islay, Mull, and Skye. All the Dalruadic ecoriomy,
as well as the Culdee Church, with its tribal organization, was an
offshoot of Irish civilization ; and Celtic archaeology has not yet
given a decisive verdict regarding the basis of the race. When the
84 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
verdict is given, it will probably be that Scotland was Teutonic long
before it became Gaelic ; in other words, that the Gaels were in-
vaders and conquerors of our soil. Many facts, which would only
enlarge this paper with wearisome details, might be given in sup-
port of this view. And the conclusion is that the Highlanders are
not exclusively Celtic ; not Celtic in their deepest fibre perhaps,
but that they are very composite, and combine many of the qualities
of the two great races the Celtic and the Teutonic that dispute
the possession of the north-Avest and middle of Europe.
In so far as the moral qualities of the Gaelic people are con-
cerned, the question of the basis of the race may be passed over in
favour of that of the influence of circumstances upon their being.
The lourd Pomeranian derives his moral qualities from the dull slug-
gishness of his native flats and native swamps, and grows up obese
and unimpassioned. So also the Gael, veritable son of mist and
flood, starts out of conditions which create quickness, verve, and
energy, along with a certain pliability of moral purpose. Often in
a state of tension, he has been roughened'as well as quickened by
his lot. At times he has been treacherous ; at times cruel. Often
he has been given to penitence and tears, and often to the pathos
of bravado. The Saxon faces the inevitable calmly and without a
grumble, as when the peasant of Brandenburgh, feeling the hand of
death upon him, hurries to purchase his own coffin, and carries it
home on his shoulder ; the Frenchman gesticulates before it in the
agony of expectation ; the Irishman, standing in its presence, in-
fuses a jet of humonr into his ravings ; and the West Highland
Gael throws a halo around it by allowing his imagination to encom-
pass in its broodings the ideals of suffering and death. Whoever
knows the social state of the West coast of Scotland, knows also how
truly the impetuous sorrows of Flory Cameron at her son's grave in
Morven, and the heart-rending anguish, of the emigrants in Tober-
mory Bay, represent the highly susceptible organization of the
people. What is great in the Saxon, and defective in the Celt, is
the inertia of unconscious habit ; what is noteworthy in the Celt is
the energy of transitory consciousness and transitory will. Thus
the moral code of the one, inasmuch as it is more the concretion of
underlying unconscious forces, is more steady and reliable than that
of the other, which, if spasmodically altruistic, is also fitful. The
Celt is individualistic, and somewhat capricious ; but he is emi-
nently the source of revolution, progress, ideality. What in the
Saxon is mere ennui, or pure discomfort, has its parallel in the
Gaelic organization in the hysteric pangs of sorrow. But since he
who feels most keenly is also capable of the wildest elation, the
The Cosmos of the A ncient Gaels. 85
Gael, when not pressed down by the force of sad presentiments and
the luxuries of repentance, is the most exuberant of mortals, and the
most fantastic in his revels. Watch his hilarity in his cups, as I
have often done on many a wet evening in many a wet glen, and
you will be surprised at the rapidity with which he passes under
the spell of his fiery native liqueur from the extremes of depression
to those of boisterous mirth, and thence to the maudlin morality
and pathos of the tumbler. Such a being may justly be described
as fitful, vehement, the author of a gloomy literature, across whose
surface some glimpses of sunshine pass rapidly. The 'Celt looked
at the flux, the Saxon more at the stability of nature ; and hence,
when the latter is content to go on his course with unquestioning
faith, the former looked fitfully into the dark vacuum of the future,
and peopling it with his troubled phantasmagoria, his faith was flick-
ering, variable, and often pointing, now in the solace of hope, now
in despair, to the solemnities of the unseen world.
As we recede from the standpoint of the present, and from the
familiar moods of our thinking about it, the world becomes more
and more unlike our own, and its image more confused and un-
certain. The Cosmos of our ancestors was altogether unlike that
which presses in upon each of us. But it was also unlike that
which can be reconstructed out of the Icelandic Volsvnga Saga
which contains undoubtedly old historic myths; it differs from
that of the Eddas, the oldest monument perhaps of North-German
literature ; and it is still more unlike the Greek idea as we have it
in Homer, and, of course, in writings later than the age of Homer.
An example will illustrate what I mean. The lower animals enter
largely into the working-out of many of Mr. Campbell's Tales,
as well as into the Greek Ba.Tpaxo/j.vo/j.axia, which is the product
of a later period than the Homeric. But a great deal of
humour, satire, and caricature is introduced in the miniature
contests of the latter, and that humour is consciously introduced ;
whereas in the Tales, the conversations between man and the lower
animals, as well as the struggles between mental and brute force
are given, I might say, unconsciously, as a matter of fact and
history, worthy of credit, and not as a satire on current morality.
A high authority in Greek criticism, Mr. Gladstone, has pointed
out how in the Homeric poems the basis of the art is altogether
objective ; and nearly all Greek poetical literature is a standing
proof of the independence of the Greek mind of the Unseen and
Eternal ; of how uniformly the Greek sought for types of beauty
and proportion in the greater outer world of sense ; and of how
little he made of sentiment and feeling, a fact which almost
86 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
justifies a remark endorsed by Lord Beaconsfield, that the ten-
dency of civilization is to suppress feeling. In the well known
description of the shield of Achilles, given in the Iliad, the
subjective, including all feeling, is overlooked. It was on ac-
count of this suppression of feeling that Goethe, perhaps the
most highly endowed of modern times, and of whom it has been
said On riajamais vu chez un Jiotnme une telle perfection physique
unie a une aiissi grande perfection intellect uelle, has singled out the
Greeks as the healthiest type of moral greatness. lu the Iliad
confidence is expressed in the sufficiency of human nature for the
exigencies of its own trials, apart from all before it or above it.
Not only different from this moral attribute, but at the opposite
pole to it are the loftiest aspirations of the Gael, as shadowed forth
in the Tales or in the fragmentary literature of Fingalianism, in
which we see mind rushing from despair to overpowering super-
naturalism. In one respect, however, the Tales approach the
Greek in their similes and personification of the terrible and the
grand ; in their mass of. symbolism traversing the flux of the sea,
worthy to be placed on the same level as the Greek image of the
ocean the tear of Neptune and in all that indicated how earnestly
they strove to enter into the spirit of their boisterous surroundings.
With their deep sensitiveness and strong anthropomorphic ten-
dency, they found the world a partially intelligible symbol, or, as
Ralph Emerson calls it, " The great shadow of oneself ; " they lived
under the influence of a varied mixture of song and story, and drew
upon the romance of the indefinite past in a realm of thought or
" Where fancy entertains becoming guests,
While native songs the heroic past recalls."
As with the child, so with the savage ; as with the individual,
so with the race : poetry precedes prose, and the earliest utterances
strive after rhyme and measure. The day may come when by
original sin the learned may mean animalism. But, however that
may be, the fireside Highland literature affords a fresh proof of the
intimate relation that existed between the human race and the
lower animals in early times, and of how animal nature was in close
alliance with that of very early races. The Tales reveal a people
with many genuine poetical faculties, and with much sympathy for
the wide range of animal life beneath them, as well as with many
aspirations for more light, and an ardent desire to penetrate beyond
the veil. That their substantive contents have come down from a
period when man was really nearer to the other animals, I have
The Gosmos of the Ancient Gaels. 87
never doubted. I believe with equal firmness, that the language of
birds, in common to all early myths, has a high significance to
the student of ethnography.
" Poetry," as defined by Bacon, " is feigned history," and my
conclusion is that the wail and woes of fragmentary Gaelic poetry re-
present a fact deeper than mere emotion or the deposit of sentiment.
" Fionn never gave up trembling and woe from that day until the
day of forever." Before we attribute this excess of sorrow to the
predominance of superstition, it would be well to examine the rise
of it. The boy in the deep-vaulted sombre glen, who quivers at the
recollection of the dark histories, and darker legends of his clan,
is by no means a coward by nature or mental structure ; but a sen-
sitive plant, finely strung up by the impulses of his environment,
and as susceptible to reverence as to fear. Though his quickening
fancy may work up a wayside bush into the herald of nether torture,
and though to the stranger he may appear in consequence as a pic-
ture of abject terror, with will paralyzed and cold cramp clutching
the life-strings of his heart, he is, beyond the scope of such a feeling,
cool and brave, daring and full of high courage. The contents of
his fiery imagination give him a singular experience, not unlike,
perhaps, to the dread of the native of Chili or Central America,
who staggers at the first symptoms of an earthquake, but who faces
death with calmness and coolness. No doubt, also, familiarity with
sorrow generates peculiar luxury. 'S taitneach learn aolbhneas a'
bhroin expresses this, and moreover points to what results generally,
as the Gaelic proverb puts it, in " valour and great deeds." It would
be of deep interest had we the means to enter into an analysis of
this complex feeling ; of these luxuries of grief, and the sadness
which engloomed the end :
" We shall vanish as a dream,
And be missing in the field of heroes.
The hunter shall not know our tomb,
Nor shall our name be in the book of song."
Death, in fact, was the gloomiest of all factors to these highly
strung people, and here they were far removed from the African
race. The calm fortitude with which the Homeric characters could
contemplate the uncertain end, and the rapturous elysium which
the Koran dangles before the ambition of the self-sacrificing sons of
the Crescent, have no proper equivalent in Fingalian literature,
in which, whilst the earthly life is pictured out as uncertain at its
best and richest, frequently the prospective rewards of even valour
and great deeds are doubtful. Death is still the great mystery, as
88 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
it always was, and always shall be. "With our forefathers it
" darkened round the mountain crag ; " the soul was called " by
song to the land of the high clouds," or to the " rayless house of
lasting gloom." The spirits of the dead " swim in the wind ; "
" the great black shadow" is seen in his " mighty strides," or " is
poured out " from the eyes, " gloomy and darker than the black
raven." And the wail is heard through the glen as the mystery
passes over it :
" Few are the men who shed not tears ;
Not few the women at lan's grave
Pouring forth tears from day to day."
It is a singular fact that all primitive literatures dwell upon
shadow-land, and figure forth the philosophy of shade. Just as
the blind love to think in colour, and just as the grandest figures
in the later works of the blind Milton are those figured forth in the
symbolism of the eye, " in darkness visible ; " so the old races found
a peculiar fascination in brooding over shadows, and visible unre-
alities. As I read through some of those old disjointed fragments,
for the first time, association recalled an old Highlander, long since
dead, a man of daring courage, lofty disregard of morals, and most
emphatic irreverence, yet who quaked like an aspen leaf at the re-
collection of an ill-omened phenomenon once observed by him on a
Eoss-shire hill on a moon-lit morning. As he was ascending the
mountain, to his infinite horror, he saw a double shadow of himself,
which, as interpreted by the traditional wisdom of his glen, was
prophetic of some doom either to himself or some one related to
him. To have a double shadow was, in many places, almost as bad
as to have no shadow at all. A night walk in one of our great
cities would dispel the illusion ; but my irreverent countryman
had never seen a great city or the glare of its myriad lamps. This
Gaelic idea of shadow is no doubt connected with the typical
misery of Peter Schlemihl, who having sold his shadow to the Evil
One, walks henceforth through the world, weary and marked for
I have tried elsewhere to show how the ancient Gael of the
Tales, explained all malevolent action by multiplying analogues of
his own being, and how
" He cast upon the earth whereon he stood
The formidable shadow of himself."
In this reduplication, the supernaturalism, though anthropomor-
phic in its origin, and often tragic in its result, was far different
The Gosmos of the A nctent Gaels. 89
from the artistic supernaturalism of Hamlet, Macbeth, or The
Tempest, in which the mystery consists in the secret promptings of
individual conscience, in the struggle between our rights and old
laws, and the breaking of moral nature out of bounds. On the con-
trary, the process in the Tales is always unconscious. The Gael,
so far as we know, was not troubled by secret promptings within
his moral nature, but with the troublesome intrusion of the inexpli-
cable factor without.
" Me premet nox fabulaeque manes
Et domus exilis Plutonia"
In his unconscious, or semi-conscious state, he expressed through
the medium of his own homely symbols, the practical philosophy of
Sartor Resartus. He felt vaguely, though he knew not how or
why, that wherever he went, his own imagination was the enemy
of his deeper self, as felt the wanderer, Teufelsdrock, who travelled,
as we all must travel, far and near in quest of a remedy for a mind
diseased, going into far-off jungles and the abode of doleful crea-
tures for comfort to his wounded spirit, who fled from the fetid
atmosphere of the crowded city to the calm repose of illusory
solitude ; but yet who could never rid himself by any amount of
wandering from his own shadow, from his second nature, from stern
facts which could not be undone, and from memories which could
not be destroyed. This shadow was behind him ; but of the future
he could only say, with the Laureate,
" I know that somewhere on the waste
The shadow sits and waits for me."
On this I make only one remark. I think I see in this shadow-
land the type, after all, of permanent existence, and a link that joins
the philosopher and the peasant. What the commonplace English-
man expresses in his couplet :
"In no place have I ever been,
Yet ever where I may be seen,"
and what the Gaelic poetaster has more graphically described as :
Tha tannas caol, a's faoin, as buan, is, though neither knows it not,
the equivalent of the Hegelian type of permanent existence, that
which is and that which is not ; something and yet nothing ; what
derives its being from what is not ; that which is the absence of
light and yet which stops it.
The belief of the Celt in shadow-land is shared by many other
races, such as tribes of Indians, who assert that whatever exists
materially carries its immortality spiritually ; that everything that
90 Gaelic Sociefy of Inverness.
has a shadow has also a soul, which can enter into the happy hunting
ground afar. Again, on the Gold Coast, the natives entertain the
firmest belief in a strange shadow-land, to which the souls of the
departed migrate ; and they leave vessels of water at the grave to
enable their relatives in shadow-land to drink and live.
The practical morality of every nation is largely influenced by
the current views regarding the soul and its destinies. A highly
educated and highly enlightened people may be thoroughly moral
in all the relations of life without entertaining any belief in the
immortality of the soul. The doctrine is not modern ; but amongst
all early nations it differed widely from the form in which it is now
received by most Christian churches. It does not appear that the
immortality of the soul was an article of faith amongst the Jews
until, at least, after the captivity ; and even after that date they
had serious controversy regarding its nature. The punishment of
the wicked through perpetual torments, and the unalloyed everlast-
ing happiness of the just, are refinements of creed due to the
subtle theology of the early Christian centuries. But there may be
an indefinite belief in immortality without any faith in special re-
wards and punishments. Plato enumerates throughout his writings
no less than ten proofs of immortality ; but not one of these is con-
clusively logical, or carries the conviction of a problem mathemati-
cally certain or morally true. Amongst northern Germanic nations,
as we know from one of the earliest Eddas, there was a belief in a
Gimil, the abode of the blest, and a Nastrand, that of the evil.
And that the Gaels had not only some phase of the doctrine of
immortality as their creed, but also belief in special rewards for
heroes cannot be doubted. In the Highlands, it is equally certain,
the doctrine of immortality was connected with that of transmigra-
tion. The mermaid, who has the beauty of woman, the treacherous
wraith that vanishes suddenly into thin air, the protean being that
assumes any form to effect his cruel purposes ; and all the mass of
superstitions, in which precautions are taken lest the fairies abstract
the departing soul and place it elsewhere, and in which one life is
supposed to be restorable on the sacrifice of another life, are all
relics to prove this conviction. A hazy belief is still current in the
outer isles to the effect that the souls of the drowned enter into
seals, &c., and thus pass into happiness.
The bards, who could read the past and from its lessons shrewdly
guess the future, at times seem to have claimed the right of issuing
the passport to the land of bliss. Till they sang the funereal song,
the spirits of the dead could not ascend to the hall of clouds, or sit
on the throne of the ivinds, but were forced to hover in agony over
The Cosmos of the A ncient Gaels. 91
the chill vapour of the marsh. There is no proof that Druidism was
introduced to this country by Phoenician traders, or that the Gaels
got their ideas of soul and immortality from the Pythagoreans. These
were of much more simple and much more commonplace origin.
Eudimental ideas are alike amongst all races. The Celts of these
Western isles probably derived their concrete idea of the soul as a
special separate entity from the obtrusions of shadow-land, and their
experience in dreams. Incapable of tracing physiological effects to
their proper physical causes, and living often upon coarse food ob-
tained at irregular intervals, they found a rough and ready explana-
tion of the giants and monsters of their dreams in the supposition
that these fleeting realities were spirits ; shadows that could vanish
into the air. Whatever its origin as a separate entity, the soul had
reference to a heaven and a hell a group of warm isles of the west,
and a sort of cheerless purgatory. Dr. Rink assures us that the
Esquimo define heaven as the place of perpetual blubber, and hell
as one of frost and famine ; and that they believe in a supernatural
being whose will is revealed only through the priests, and who
governs all our destinies. From curious customs still preserved in
remote isles and isolated glens, as well as from the debris of the
Gaelic literature, we can understand the origin of a cheerless purga-
lory, and how sun-worship arose. The race who lived in these
circumstances, in looking up at the sun, found supreme divinity
there, in the power which both awed and inspired the struggling
spirit. There was
" The Sovereign whence emanated universal light.
Ah, Sun ! awful art thou in all thy strength."
There is not much analysis traceable in these Tales. The Khurds
of Orissa have a fourfold division of mind ; and most literatures have
a triple division of it; but in Fingalianism it is generally figured forth
under the image of vapoury mist, unsubstantial in eluding sense-
perception, yet vital and the centre of all vitality ; impressible from
without, sometimes projecting itself outwards and coming into
alliance with the bodies of many marvellous creatures, much in the
same way as the soul of Batrace is represented to have done in an
Egyptian tale, known to be 3278 years old. As a sort of essential
matter, which alone the ordinary mind can embrace, with form,
therefore, and essential relation to space, a mysterious essence with
spontaneity within itself, it is sometimes vaguely described as an
existence distinct from self, taking refuge, grotesquely it seems to
us, in oatcakes, peeping under door-sills, creeping under flagstones,
sojourning in eggs, emigrating into geese and ducks, plunging into
92 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
oceans and overcoming giants. It carried its habits of violence
and strife along with it
" When went two spirits on the wind,
And fiercely struggle on the tossing waves,
Far away the hunter hears
The loud and lingering noise of warring ghosts."
Not seldom do we find the soul passing rapidly from fishes to
birds, and thence to quadrupeds. The Welsh Mdbinogion says, in
this reference, " There is nothing in which I have not been." One
thing at least is clear, both from the Welsh and Gaelic Tales, that
the people who invented and preserved these rugged stories, and to
whom this crumbled down poetry belonged, who fabricated aud
dressed them, who dreamed over their recital, and who loved to
reconstruct their imagery, had certainly more in common with the
eagle and the fox, more sympathy with the lower part of creation,
and more enduring interest in the purely animal part of life, than
modern Highlanders have. If animals at first created fear, they
next attracted sympathy. Perhaps the gulf has been widened by
the vulgar outcry raised by anti-Darwinians against our kindness
to the lower animals. But in any case, these Tales point to an age
when thought was narrow and confined, when expression was feeble,
except in one direction, when religious conceptions were both gross
and meagre, when the personal self was not yet regarded as the
functional factor, which alone our psychology recognizes, when
the vast space which lies between the ego and the non-ego, was
looked upon as an unbroken continuity kindred to both, and actually
was a mass of phantasmagoria and diversified analogues of conscious
experience, when man, looking upon himself with a mixture of
despair and wonder, could not, even if he dared, face the problem
of his dark destiny, when his sympathies had a wider area, and
when he would feel more at home with a fox, planning some depre-
dation, than with a Hegel or a Huxley, contemplating the meaning
of the universe. , ,
To our remote ancestors the question of the "Abyssmal depths
of personality" was as sealed as it is still to an average peasant,
whose idea of a God is that of a monster man. Historically our
image of the great material world is earlier than our interpretation
of its meaning. I have already tried to show what the Celtic idea
of the world was. Though no believer in the authenticity of
M'Pherson's Ossian, there are several cosmological fragments in it,
of whose antiquity I am unable to doubt. When I read the beau-
tiful romance of .Nausica, in the ninth Book of the Odessy, I find
The Cosmos of the A ncfeni Gaels- 93
myself in the living atmosphere of a Grecian isle ; in going through
the Georgics, one is surrounded with the life and scenery of old
Italy. Spenser decks the most idealistic of his fairy dells with the
wayside beauties of Elizabethan England ; Wordsworth draws his
peasant life from the actual habits of Westmoreland ; in Tennyson
we find the perpetual purling of Lincoln or midland streams ; and
Burns draws upon peasant life in Ayrshire for his humour, and for
his peculiar pathos. And so I conclude the grand imagery of
Ossianic literature never arose out of the bleak valley of the Spey,
or out of any section of modern European life. That weird canopy
of clouds, sighing winds, and thunderstorms, those scowling cliffs
with their spectral visions, are both old and of the west. Only on
a howling night off the Giant's Causeway, and in a thunderstorm
on the edge of Glen Lennox, or in looking down into the furious
cauldron of the Sannaig Rocks, or when facing the mists of dark
Morven, have I at all, and even then feebly, realised some of the
Ossianic imagery, or been able to transport myself into its actions
and fierce struggles, and to see the long past events passing vaguely
before me in its strange symbolism, in shadowy outlines of the
brave and the fair ; .maidens purer than the sun, " with breasts
whiter than the foam on the edge of the moon," titanic heroes striv-
ing for glory, amidst scenes in which years rolled darkly past, in
which the great ocean poured its wrath on sterile shores, in which
winds sighed the sigh of death, and ghosts shrieked aloud " in the
viewless wind of the cairn."
As might be expected, all this is obscured by the common-
place of the Tales, where we deal with monsters of many forms ;
wraiths with one pool-like eye, giants standing about with aspen
woods growing out of repulsive foreheads, one-legged ghosts and
Fioiis, reminding us of the Polish Piast, generally herculean, but
often crafty. Even here, however, the superhuman contest is
often prolonged and terrible. Ian struggled, in one Tale, with a
giant, and in the combat they made a " boggy bog of the rocky
rock," and, as they fought on, their feet sank deeply into the
hardest cliffs, and brought wells of water " out of the face of the
hardest rock." In the Fingalians, a fragmentary poemlet, of which
several versions have been lost and of which several are still
current, the action is really a national struggle personified.
" Patrick of sweetest psalms " finds mention here ; the unlawful
passion of Lochlin's wife for a Fingalian hero results in a fierce
national combat, and " four score and five thousand mighty men
fell by the hands of Carra alone."
We cannot lay too much emphasis on the fact, however, that the
94 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
popular tales of all nations are in their plot and base very much alike.
A curious illustration of this met me last year. As I was going to
see the interesting ecclesiastical ruins of Oronsay, I passed, near
the south end of Colonsay, the remains of an old chapel, evidently
of Culdee origin; and Mr. M'Neil, who acted as my guide and
whose natural intelligence is of a markedly high order, related a
Tale of an occurrence connected with the lonely spot. That Tale
was in substance, certainly in idea, the Hunchback Tale of Japan.
A very large portion of what gives much of its charms to the
peculiar traditional lore of the Highlands is of Norse origin, highly
charged with Odinic theology. I am not prepared to assert that
the polytheism of the Gaels was that of the Scandinavians ; but that
the former went after many and strange gods seems clear. We do
not, at least by name, find Wuotan, or Donar, or Freja in any Tale
of undoubted authority; the elaborate cosmogony of Icelandic litera-
ture has no equivalent in Gaelic ; and it is not easy to trace even
any influence of Skaldinic origin. And yet the fierce paganism, to
which I have already referred, is certainly Norse. I cannot agree
either with those who deduce the triology, Wuotan, Fro, and
Donar, of the Norse, from the Christian Trinity, or with those who,
like Phene, discover serpent worship and the idea of the Trinity in
such spots as the serpentine mound at Lochnell. The serpent may
have been worshipped in the Highlands ; the boar certainly was,
for if all the legends and tales that cluster round the death of
Dermaid have any meaning, it points to an age when some reformer
endeavoured to introduce a higher form of worship, and perished,
as most true reformers have done, in the struggle caused by his
own innovation. All social salvation is through suffering; and
from the beginning of the world, quite as much as with the
Hebrew prophets and modern reformers, the heralds of great move-
ments have fallen a prey either to the blind virulence of opposing
doctrines, or to the force of these movements themselves.
In Glenorchy, in Kirkousland, and in many other places, I have
found local traces of Odinism. The story of the Rider of Grianig
is distinctly Odinic. To one other fact, and that one of some
significance, I refer here. In all old literatures, justice is really
revenge. It was always the old story, at its most merciful point,
an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. We find Byron, in
a moment of wild frenzy, declaring that the greatest curse that he
could inflict on any mortal was to forgive him. In this utterance
he expresses the spirit of Paganism. Christianity makes forgiveness,
and Paganism makes revenge, a virtue. If that be so, if the chief
argument against Mr. M'Pherson is the liberal introduction of
The Cosmos of the Ancient Gaels. 95
generosity to foes in his poems, even still the Highland idea of
law is not justice but revenge, which excludes forgiveness. When
M'Phersou ascribes these virtues of high generosity and the spirit
of forgiveness to his valorous heroes, he at least is guilty of working
through the aid of anachronism, whilst he proves himself to have
but little insight into the great social and spiritual movements of
North west Europe during the early Christian centuries.
Who of us does not look, perhaps with some degree of fondness,
to our younger days, when imagination greedily snatched the
marvellous and the impossible, and when it fed upon nursery stories
that really belonged to Odinic literature 1 I have even now
distinct recollections of these days of luxuriant marvel, when the
grand old stories of the Valhalla, which circulated in the north of
Scotland as freely as on the flats of Brandenburgh, appeared to be
histories and not myths, records of actual facts with the personal
interest superadded, and not as allegories in which the workings of
outer law were recorded. The marvellous steed, the sword, and
cap were facts to me then. They are only rude symbols now.
Swiftness and darkness, the power of rapid execution and that of
concealment ; the eight-legged steed that went on the wings of the
wind (the Germanic Sleipner), and the cap of darkness (the kappa
of the Nibelungen the equivalent of the a-eraeroj of Mercury and
of Macbeth's helmet of the night] are still with us, though in alien
forms. This power of baffling foes, not by open contest and fair
fight, finds its equivalent in the nineteenth century, a Freeman would
tell us, in the contortions of diplomacy, and, as we need not be
informed by any one, in the speech that conceals thought, in the
darkness that covers the designs of the wicked, in the craft and
cunning that I have already shown to be a leading factor in Celtic
morals, and which were not condemned but applauded by the
All nursery rhymes, and all popular customs, handed down
from generation to generation carry a deep underlying meaning as
survivals of forgotten religions, remnants of old creeds, broken
fragments of ceremonies in which the adult population of byegone
times solemnly took part. A few of these still retain something of
the ghostly and much of the quaint. Dances, little ditties, and
rhythmic movements now contemptible to all outside the four walls
of the nursery, are crumbled down relics of imposing processions
and great religious ceremonies which our Pagan ancestors, on some
great day of sacrifice or worship, performed around the rude clachan
or the sacrificial stone. We have still a Clachan an De 's airde, an
undoubted relic of polytheism. Eound that, as round many
96 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
others, rude voices once chanted rude hymns to the Supreme God,
whose vengeance was invoked in frantic prayers, and whose favour
was propitiated by human sacrifices. If we assume that in ruder
ages, with ruder religions, the priests were worthy of their profes-
sion, we may also assume that these ceremonies were invested with
a vast amount of unnecessary mystery, and carried through with
the aid of much trickery and unscrupulous pretence, out of which
we can now extract only the symbol of a symbol, inasmuch as
their rude ritual with its mysteries, enigmas, riddles, and general
quackery, represented vaguely that contorted truth, and that all-
" Whose faith has centre everywhere,
Nor cares to fix itself in form."
Diodorus describes the Celts as being fond of enigmas, revel-
ling in hyperbole, and with an overwhelming contempt for all
others. Let us see how far his description is supported by our ex-
isting fragments. Compelled to think keenly, to philosophize, the
Gaels appear to have possessed a criterion of truth ; but judged by
Mr. Campbell's Tales, they had no organ of discovery, at least
consciously or definable. Hence their logic developed itself into a
series of concrete quibbles, intricate riddles, quaint puzzles, and
meagre fallacies, occupying the borderland between ascertained
fact and possible truth. There -is much in the Tales to suggest
Taleisin's Invocation of the wind :
" The strong creature from before the flood,
"Without flesh, without bones, without head, without feet,
Without age, without season,
It is always of the same age as the age of the seasons."
What we call in logic the Law of Contradiction was certainly, in
some form, known to the preservers of the stories ; and in the
germ we come across no inconsiderable amount of sound philosophy
disguised in proverbs, riddles, and aristic problems. If we translate
the abstract into one of its concrete forms, we may meet much with
which we are familiar in our text-books on reasoning. " De 's gile na
sneachd ? Tha 'nfhirinn," expresses in a rough, semi-concrete manner
Descartes' Criterion of Certainty and Clearness as the highest test of
truth. The Gaels never got much beyond that primitive kind of
reasoning which contents itself with concrete quibbles, gnomes,
and fallacies, which is descriptive of natural or emblematical of
real objects, and which was as different as the poles are asunder
The Cosmos of the A ncient Gaels. 97
from the puns and verbal ingenuity that are still used to excite
curiosity amongst the Highlanders. The Gaelic riddles are not un-
like the Greek Griphi, and many of them are in the same strain
as that propounded by the Sphinx to CEdipus : " What is that
which goes on four legs in the morning, on two at mid-day, and on
three in the evening? " Thus : " What is that which the Creator
never saw, which kings see but seldom, and that I see daily 1 " It
is also noteworthy that most of the fallacies belong to the class
called ambiguous middle. The following occur frequently, and are
typical of the kind of reasoning that one still hears in the north-
west : " The beard is older than the man, because it grows on the
goat before the man." " There is a kind of tree which is neither
bent nor straight." " One ladder can reach heaven if it is long."
" If Fionn were as swift as the sun he could go round the world in
a day." " I can hold one egg in my hand ; and yet twelve strong
men with ropes cannot hold it." " The pupil of the eye is not
bigger than a barleycorn, and yet it covers the table of a king."
" What has no tongue tells no tales." " Smoke is higher than the
king's palace." "What is false to me is false to you." "The
first nine are my father's brothers, the second nine my mother's,
the third nine are my sons, and they are all my husband's sons."
I expand a specimen syllogistically :
What more than covers the king's table is. larger than it ;
The pupil of the eye more than covers the king's table,
But a barleycorn is at least as large as the pupil of the eye,
Therefore the barleycorn covers the king's table.
To a like effect are many of the Gaelic proverbs. " Worthless is
a tale without warrant " is a favourable specimen of the more practical
logical maxims. These were not so subtle or so intricate as the
eristic of Zeno the Eleatic, or the puzzles of Diodorus. In spite of
their fragmentary character, however, with all their fantastical
setting, and their tendency towards sophistry, they contain, if not
a distinct recognition, at least a dim conception of a monistic
system of inherence and sequence of events, or a kind of running
up of causality, in all its forms, into the mysterious originative
power of mind ; but nowhere do they project blind causation as an
explanation either of change or being. Cause was traced back to
some impulse in personal human mind, or some analogue of it ; the
whole universe was ultimately resolved thus into some effort of
mind. As the energetic Professor Blackie translates an idea of
98 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
" Cause never dwelt in aught of sensuous kind,
Sole first and last of all that was and is and yet shall be
In heaven or earth is mind."
One instance of the concrete Gaelic dealing with causality may
be given here. The characters are Murachaig, an industrious youth,
who goes forth to gather fruit, and Menachaig, a lazy drone, who
stays at home and eats it. The former resolves to stop this pro-
cedure, and to correct his brother's vicious habit. He therefore
goes to the wood in quest of a rod suitable for flagellating pur-
poses. But the axe was blunt, and Murachaig had to sharpen it.
Consequently he had to follow cause into effect as follows. I
give only a fragment :
Murachaig [the first cause] discovered a baking woman,
Who gave a cake to a young lad,
Who therefore gave straw to the cow,
Which therefore gave milk to the cat,
Which therefore hunted a mouse,
Which therefore buttered the dog's feet,
Which therefore chased the deer,
Which therefore ran to the water,
Which therefore was discovered,
Which therefore softened the stone,
Which therefore sharpened the axe,
Which therefore cut the rod,
Which beat the lazy Menachaig.
This is certainly a very rudirnental form of reasoning ; but it is a
very fair specimen of the logic of the Tales.
To say that conscience, individual, social, and general, is a grow-
ing faculty, is only to admit that progress is possible. That the
range of the old Gaelic conscience, both of the individual and social,
was narrow, and that its verdict, tested by purer principles, was im-
moral, I have tried to show in my former paper. The doctrine con-
sists in facts and in stories, like that of the poor and rich brother
(II. pp. 30-2), of which the morale is neither lofty nor pure.
Though it does not differ much from the treachery of Jacob, it
wants the charms of the sly trickery of Ulysses. Here unblushing
roguery is triumphant, and success, through whatsoever means ob-
tained, is the lesson taught. Almost everywhere ingenuity is the
passport to success, against even the resources of the great world of
giants and monsters. In one story, a large giant is represented as
desirous to kill his son-in-law. Aware of his danger, the bride and
The Cosmos of the A ncient Gaels. 99
bridegroom flee, the giant pursues, and as hope is vanishing, the
inexplicable comes to the aid of the unfortunate couple ; they some-
how succeed in taking out of the ear of the filly that carried them
twenty miles of thick thorn, twenty miles of hard rock, and twenty
miles of deep sea, which they successively cast behind, and thus
escape from the pursuing monster. Cuchullin is the strongest of
heroes. But Fionn is swift, full of wily resource, and ready in in-
vention. He has all the cunning of a modern provincial attorney,
and can heckle and peddle like a Jew, as, for instance, he shows in
his cautious cross-questioning of the affianced. The serpent is as fre-
quently an emblem of cunning as it is of wisdom. The soothsayer,
with his incantations and spells, and, ill OUT opinion, quackery,
plays always an important role ; scarcely a hill or loch but has its
petty deity, to whose malicious interference calamities and diseases
are ascribed, and whose malevolence must be thwarted by the skilful
art of the magician. A central doctrine of the whole mythology, as
Mr. Campbell points out, is the superiority of skill to might. Valour
is greatly to be desired, but wisdom is higher than valour. A quaint
tale illustrates how cunning overcomes force, even in the superna-
tural. A giant thirsts for more blood ; but Maol a' Chliobain saves
herself by sheer resource ; she tries to escape ; and the giant follows
in hot pursuit. " And the sparks of the fire that the giant brought
out of the rocks with his fist struck Maol a' Chliobain in the back
and burned her not, whilst the sparks which her heels struck out of
the rocks smote the giant in the face and wounded him sorely."
They came to the running water, always a barrier fatal to spirits of
evil, and the giant could get no further.
But I close in the meantime. I have left many questions of
pressing interest almost untouched. The part played by second-
sight in the mythology of the Celts, the meaning of marvellous
supernatural interference in human affairs, the respect attached to
the virtues of valour and fidelity, and many other points of value
to the student of the Celtic Cosmogony, and the alien code of
ethics, must be left for future consideration. The old mythology and
tales do not consist of facts that can be wrested into modern ethical
ideas. They are, nevertheless, whether we can read their teaching
aright or not, relics of the long forgotten past ; exhumed fossils
telling strange histories of a world otherwise absolutely gone. They
are, moreover, pleasing links connecting us with a near period,
now also gone, a period when these stories were told around the
hearth in many a glen which is now a melancholy waste, when they
were regarded as the exclusive property of some imposing patriarch
on the verge of the grave, when their recital created awe and re-
100 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
verence, and when they were believed in as firmly as the latest de-
cree from the Vatican. And though some of us now look upon
them as the mere phantom of a race
" Uprising from the wild green sea of waves,
Drifting with a low moan of mystery,"
they teach their lesson as emphatically to the most practical, as
well as to the keenest visionary amongst us. That lesson, I think,
is expressed well by the author of Balder the Beautiful :
" Read these faint runes of mystery,
Oh Celt, at home and o'er the sea !
The bond is loosed, the poor are free,
The world's great future rests with thee.
" Till the soil, bid cities rise,
Be strong, oh Celt, be rich, be wise !
But still with those divine grave eyes,
Eespect the realm of mysteries."
At the meeting on this date, the Secretary, Mr. William
Mackenzie, read the following paper :
LEAVES FROM MY CELTIC PORTFOLIO.
In Volume VII. of these Transactions, two series of selections
from my Celtic Portfolio appeared. During the present session, I
gave a third series,* and to-night I give a fourth. In pre-
senting you with these " Leaves," suffice it to say that they are
selected at random from my Celtic gleanings during the past.
I will in the first place give you two good old songs, which the
Rev. Alexander Cameron, of Glengarry, has kindly sent me. Mr.
Cameron took them down from the recitation of a Mrs. Macrae a
Kintail woman who died during the present year (1879), at the
age of 80. They were, according to her, composed by Iain Lorn.
The bard was at the time, she said, in the service of a certain Alais-
dair MacRath. Murdo, one of Macrae's sons, was lost in the hills,
and search was made for him and continued until, after fifteen days,
his body was found in Gleann-Lic, at the foot of a large rock locally
* Vide page 18.
Leaves from my Celtic Portfolio. 101
known as " A' charraig." On each of the fifteen days they were in
search of Murdo, Iain Lorn is said to have composed a song. The
references in the second song to the grave, &c., indicate that it was
composed after the body was found and buried, and not during the
search. That these songs were composed by Iain Lorn cannot be
easily proved, but whoever the author, they are well worthy of being
Gleann-Lic, Mrs. Macrae knew very well, for her husband and
she lived in it for four years " Mar uidhe urchair gunna bho'n aite
anns an d'fhuaradh corp Mhurchaidh Mhic Alasdair. Theireadh iad
gu dearbh," said Mrs. Macrae, " gu'm biodh feadhainn a' faicinn 's ag
cluinntinn rud ann." Especially was the " Carraig" and a path
that led through or past it, said to be haunted. Her own husband,
indeed, had proof of it, for one morning in the end of harvest, in
the beginning of a snow-storm, he and an assistant were taking
sheep down from the heights "an deigh dha sneachd 6g a chuir.
Fhuair iad an lorg mhoir chruinn ud air an t-sneachda, agus mar gu'm
biodh sp6gan fada 'tighinn inach air an taobh chuil ! Bha fada fada
eadar na h-uile lorg, agus cha robh iad ach mar gu'm biodh neach
air aona chois a' toirt gamagan uabhasach ! " It was in this inte-
resting locality that the body was found, at the foot of a precipice.
" Bha figheadair ann an Cr6 Chinntaile aig an uair ud ris an
abairte ' Am Breabadair bg ;' agus bha nadur cho fiadhaich crosd
ann a's gu'm biodh paidhir dhagachan aige na chois daonnan agus
iad nan laidhe (Ian urchair) air a' bheart 'nuair a bhiodh e 'figheadh."
This valorous weaver was firmly convinced that it was the " Droch
Aon" himself that put Murchadh Mac Alasdair " out of the way"
(as an rathad) and therefore, loading his pistols with a silver
coin instead of lead (Oir their iad nach dearg a chaochladh air an
Fhear Mhillidh) he went to the place where the body was found,
and lay in wait for fourteen days " 'dh-fheuchainn an tachradh an
Droch Aon air, gus am marbhadh e e ! " But the Breabadair 6g
was disappointed and returned home. It was commonly believed
that Murchadh Mac Alasdair had, during his walk in the hill, found
a man a " Glasach" stealing his goats. Having taken him
prisoner, Murdo was bringing him home it is supposed, and that as
they were passing along the " Cadha," at the " Carraig," the
* Since writing the above, I made several enquiries as to the authorship. The
circumstances attending Murchadh Mac Alasdair's death appear to be pretty
well known in the West, but I failed to ascertain the date. Iain Lorn witnessed
the battle of Inverlochy in 1645, and sang the praises of the victorious army.
He died in 1710. Were Murchadh Mac Alasdair and the bard contemporaries ?
One seanachaidh informs me that the elegies were composed by Murdo s brother
another says by his sgalag. Was Iain Lorn the sgaLig ?
1 02 Gaelic Society of In verness.
Glasach,* pitched Murdo over the precipice at the foot of which his
body was found. This is, indeed, all the more probable, added the
old lady, as a certain Glasach, on his deathbed, was understood to
have made some confession regarding Murchadh Mac Alasdair's
death ; but the person to whom the secret was confided, would
never divulge it. The following are the songs :
Och nan ochan 's mi sgith,
'Falbh nan cnoc so ri sion,
Gur neo-shocrach a' sgrlob tha 'san diithaich ;
Thu bhi, Mhurchaidh, air chall
Gun aon chuimse c' e 'm ball ;
Sud an urchair bha caillte dhuinne.
Och mo chlisgeadh 's mo chas,
Gun tu 'n ciste chaol chlair,
Le fios aig do chairdean ciuirrt' air.
'S beart nach guidhinn do m' dheoin
Ach na ludhaig Dia oirnn,
Do chul buidhe bhi ch6ir na h-uireach.
Slan le gliocas, 's le ceill
'S a bhi measail ort fhein,
'S nach eil fhios ciod e 'n t-eug a chiurr thu.
Slan le treine na seoid,
Slan le gleusdachd duin' 6ig,
'N uair nach d' fheud thu bhi beo gun churam.
Slan le binneas nam bard,
Slan le grinneas nan lamh ;
Co ni mire ri d' mhnaoi, no sugradh ?
Slan le fiadhach nam beann,
Slan le iasgach nan allt
Co chuir iarunn an crann cho cliuiteach 1
* My friend, Mr. Colin Chisholm, assures me that this dastardly act was not
committed by a Glasach. He usually heard it attributed to a Glenmoriston man.
Leaves from my Celtic Portfolio. 103
Do luchd-faire* gim fhiamh,
Bho'n bha d' air' orra riamh
Nochd cha ghearain am fiadh a churam.
Faodaidh an earbag an noclid,
Eadar mhaoisleach a's bhoc
Cadal samhach air cnoc gun churam.
Faodas ise bhi slan,
'Siubhal iosal a's aird,
Bho'n a chailleadh an t-armunn cliuiteach.
'S ait le binnich nan allt,t
'Chor 's gu'n cinnich an clann,
Gu'n do mhilleadh na bh'ann de d' fhiidar.
Cha b'e d' fhasach gun ni,
No d' fhearann-aitich chion all,
Ach sgeul nach binn e ri sheinn 's an duthaich.
Och nan och a's mi sgith,
Falbh nan cnoc so ri sion,
Gur neo-shocrach a' sgrlob tha 'san duthaich.
'S i sealg Geamhraidh Ghlinne-Lic
A dh' fhag greann oirnn trie a's gruaim,
Mu'n 6g nach robh teann 'sa bha glic,
'S an' teampull fo'n lie 's an' uaigh.
A' cheud Aoine na Gheamhradh fhuar,
'S daor a phaigh sinn buaidh na sealg,
An t-6g bu chraobhaiche snuagh,
Na aonar uainn a's fhaotainn marbh.
Tional na sglre gu leir,
Ei siubhal sleibh, 's ri falbh bheann,
Fad sglos nan coig latha deug,
'S am fear dlreach treun air chall.
* This refers to the deer,
t The roe-deer.
104 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
Murchadh donn-gheal mo run,
Bu mhln-suil 's bu leannan mnaoidh,
A' ghnuis anns an robh am ball-seirc,
'S a bha tearc air thapadh laimh.
Chuala mise clarsach theud,
Fiodhall a's beus ag co-sheinn
Cha chuala a's cha chluinn gu brath,
Ceol na b'fhearr na do bheul binn.
Bu tu marbhaich' 'bhalla-bhric bhain,
Le morbh caol, fada, geur ;
Le cuilbheir bhristeadh tu cnaimh,
'S gu'm bu shilteach fo d' laimh na fe'idh !
'Bhean uasal a thug dhuit gaol,
Nach bi chaoidh na h-uaigneas slan,
'S truagh le mo chluasan a gaoir,
Luaithead 's a sgaoil an t-aog an snaim.
'o tursach do chinneadh nior deas
Ga d' shireadh an ear 's an iar,
'S an t-og a b'f hiughantaich beachd
Ki slios glinne marbh 's an t-sliabh.
Tha Crathaich nam buailtean b6
Air an sgaradh ro-mh6r mu d' eug
Do thoir as a bheatha so 6g
A ghaisgich nan corn 's nan ceud.
'S tuirseach do sheachd braithrean graidh,
Am pearson gu h-ard a leugh,
Thug e, ge tuigseach a' cheird,
Aona bharr-tuirs' air each gu leir.
Bho thus dhiubh Donnchadh nam pios,
Gillecriosd, a's dithis do'n chl^ir,
Fearchar agus Ailean Donn,
Uisdean a bha trom na d' dheigh.
Gur tuirseach do gheala bhean 6g,
'S i 'sileadh nan deoir le gruaidh,
'S a' spionadh a fuilt le de6in,
'8ior chumha nach beo do shnuagh.
Leaves from my Geliic Portfolio. 105
'S math am fear-rannsachaidk an t-aog,
'Se 'm maor e a dh-iarras gu mion ;
Bheir e leis an t-og gun ghiamh,
'S fagaidh e 'm fear liath ro shean.
The next song Turns Aoughais do'n Ghealaich is serio-comic
in its nature. The friend who favoured me with it sent the follow-
ing history of it :
Ann an Gleann-Eileachaig, shuas aig ceann Loch-Longa, an
Ciuntaile, bha uair-eigin a comhnaidh dithis ghillean. 'Se Aonghas
Mac-'ille-mhaoil a b' ainm do dh-fear diubh, agus a chionn 's gu'm
biodh e 'cumail a cheann ro dhireach agus a 1 sealltainn suas theireadh
cuid " Aonghas dlroach" ris, agus cuid eile " Aonghas na Gealaich."
'S e Uisdean Mac-Cullach a bh' air an fhear eile, agus bho'n
bha e crubach a's 'na thaillear theireadh iad " An Taillear
Crubach" ris. Cha robh aon neach anns a' choimhearsnachd
do nach d'rinu " An Taillear Crubach " 6ran ; agus air "Aonghas
na Gealaich" gu sonruichte, cha 'n fhaigheadh e cothrom 's am
bith nach biodh e sas ann. Bha Aonghas an sud oidhche air
bal-dannsaidh, agus 'n uair thainig e dhachaidh bhuail a mhathair
air trod ris, a' cumail mach gu'n robh tuilleadh 's a ch6ir de'n uisge-
bheatha aige. An uair thuirt i so ris, an aite dha dhol a chadal 's
ann a ghabh e mach le 'thuadh a ghearradh connaidh, agus air dha
gnothachan a chuir ceart an sin, dh' fhalbh e, gun tilleadh dhach-
aidh, gu ruig an Tigh-ban. A chionn nach d' innis e c'aite an
robh e 'dol agus nach d' thainig e dhachaidh fad na h-ath
oidhche th6isich a chairdean agus uile mhuinntir a' bhaile
air a shireadh air feadh na bruaich le lochrain agus soluis. " Ge
b'e c'aite an robh thus' Aonghais, cha b' fhada gus an d' thainig
thu beo slan, fallain, dhachaidh leat fhein agus do cheann cho
dtreach 'sa bha e rianih" ; agus 's e bh' ann gu'n d'rinn an " Taillear
Crubach" an t-6ran so a leanas air :
Gur mis' tha fo mhulad,
Bho 'n chailleadh an t-fhiiiian deas 6g,
Agus ceann-ard na fine,
Cloinn-'ic-mhaoilein ga d' shireadh 's tu beo ;
Tha do chiste ga sabhadh,
'S iomadh fear a ta 'fasgadh nan dorn,
'S tha do leannan gun eiridh
Ach an d' fhuair i ort sgeul bho na Chro.
106 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
'S trie mi 'smaointinn, a ghaisgich,
Dh'fhalbh a shraid Bhaile-chaisteil an tuim,
Dh'fhag sud luasgan air m' aigne
Chuir mi iomral air cadal na h-oidhch' ;
Bho'n a chailleadh tu, Aonghais,
Bheir mi greis air bhi 'g iomradh do loinn,
'S e dh'fhag muladach m' inntinn,
Bhi ga d' shireadh feadh fhrlthean a' Ghaill.
Gas a shiubhal na m6inteich !
Agus sealgair a' ghebidh air an t-snamh !
Mar ri ialltan a's lachan
Leat bu mhiann bhi ga'n caitheamh dhe d' laimh ;
'S iomadh fear tha bochd, traagh dheth,
Bho'n thug thu 'n car suas chon a' Mhaim,
Agus fear tha gun ghluasad
'S ann diubh Frisealach ruadh an Tigh-bhain !
'S tha Mac-'uireach-Dhomh'll* duilich
Bho'n a dh' fhalbh thu 'm " balloon" can sgiath,
Air an astar nach till thu
Ghabh thu seachad os-clnn Loch-nan-ian,
Gabh thu 'n rathad a b' airde,
Ach am faice' tu c'aite an robh 'ghrian
Gur e tilleadh a b' fhearr leat
'N uair a dh' fhairich thu gailich nan nial.
Dh'fhalbh Aonghas 's a' mhaduinn,
Gus a' chraobh 'bh'anns a' ghealaich a bhuain,
Gus a gearradh, no splonadh
Bha e 'g radh, 'n uair a ghiaraich e 'thuadh ;
Bha e 'siubhal fad seachduin
Anns an t-slighe bha drabhasach buan,
'S mu'n do smuainich e tilleadh,
Bha na speuran ga mhilleadh le fuachd.
Thuirt am fear bha gu h-ard ris,
" Co as a thainig an sonn ?
Cha bhi do shaothair gun phaidheadh,
Ged tha mis' agus m' fhardach gle 16m ;
* Mac-uireach-Dhomh?ll was the father of Angus's sweetheart.
Leaves from my Celtic Portfolio. 107
Bha mi roiinhe ga gearradh
'S tha mi nise ga faire gu tr6m,
Tha mo Icabaidh gun dlon ann
'S mi fo shileadh nam miar aig a bonn."
Labhair Aonghas gu sughmhor
" Ma ghearras tu chraobh bi'dh tu paidht',
Thug mi fada ga sireadh,
'S chuir i eis air mo phiseach gu brath ;
Thug mi corr a's seachd bliadhna
Eadar gu h-iosal 's gu h-ard,
'S ma 's e tall' e 'm beil aoibhneas
'Leig thu mise seal oidhche 'na d' aite 1 "
Sin 'n uair thuirt am fear liath ris
" 'S math mo bharail gur sgianadair thu,
Eirin thu 'n t-astar a phian thu,
Chon na fasdail chuir fialachd air chul ;
Fhad 's a bhiodh tu ga gearradh
Cha 'n fhaigh thu chead fantuinn a dh' uin',
'S tha mi 'togairt do thilgeil,
Gu bhi deanamh na h-iinrich as ur."
Labhair Aonghas an gaisgeach
Ann an c6mhradh cath an fhir leith,
Dol an coinneamh na h-iorghuill,
'S cha robh 'n seann duin' ag agair na reit'
" Thus' a bhodaich air crionadh,
'S gu'm bheil mise mo ghlomhanach treun,
Theid do chrochadh ri meur dhi
'S gu'm bi chraobh fo mo riaghailte fhein ! "
I will now give you a poem composed by Mrs. Mary Mackellar,
about twenty years ago, after reading of Locheil of the '45, leav-
ing the Prince asleep, and going to get a last look of his ancient
castle. On his arriving at his destination, the Chief found nothing
but the bare walls, the " Eed Soldiers " having burned the castle to
the ground. Mrs. Mackellar gives expression to the thoughts that
must have roused her chief s breast. "Air learn," said she, "gar
ann mar so a labhair an ceann-feadhna uasal " :
An eiginn domhsa, triath nam beaun,
Bhi 'm fhograch fann air feadh nan stuchd,
108 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
'S gu tosdach sealltuin air do cheann
Mo dhachaidh aosda anns an uir !
Loisg na " Dearganaich " gu lar
Gach baideal ard dhe m' dhachaidh ghaoil
'S an trie a fhuair mi fois a's tlaths
Air tilleadh dhomh o ar nan laoch,
'S nuair thogadh slth a bratach suas
'Sa bhithinns' le in' thuath-chearn' fhein
'Tighinn luchdaichte gu tur nam buadh,
O'n chreachan fhuar 's am biodh na feidh
Bu phailt am fion, 's bhiodh piob air ghleus,
'Si caithreaniach mu'r '11 euchd 's na blair,
'S 'nuair bheireadh Seanachaidh greis air sgeul
Mu ghniomharan nan treun a bha
Bhiodh cridh' gach cuiridh laist 'na chom
'Se ann am fonn gu bhi 's an ar
'S gach Camshronach 'sa bhbid gu trom
Gu ainm bhi measg nan sonn 's an dan.
'S 'nuair thogainnse mo shrol a suas
'S crois-taraidh le luaths na gaoith
G'an tional gu toiteal nan tuagh
'S ann riamh gu buaidh a thriall na laoich.
Bha uamhann air na Goill roiinh 'r n-ainm
'S ged tha 'n diugh coilbh Ohuilfhodair ac'
Si 'm ban-fhuil fhein bhiodh fo na buinn
Na, 'n robh ar suinn gu leir na'r taic.
A thaibhse Bhruis, dean faire learn !
A's sileamaid ar deoir le cheiT
Chuir t-Albainn fein a'n diugh air chul
Oighre do chruin, is mor am bend.
Ceannairc 'na aghaidh cha dean mi,
'S do choigreach mar righ cha lub ;
An aobhar trocair deir iad rium
Thug iad o m' Phrionnsa gaoil a chrun.
Leaves from my Celtic Portfolio. 109
An Duitsich no'n Guelphich an d' fhuair
Trocair no truacantas tamh 1
Na d' ollanaich fhuiltich o'n uaigh
Ghleann Comhann luaidh dhuinn sgeul do chraidh.
A's eireadh sibhs a laochan mor
A thuit an Cuilfhodair nan creuchd
Is innsibh 'nuair a laidh sibh lebint'
Mar rinn a'n Cu bhur feoil a reub'.
Bi' d' thosd mo chridh' a's sguir dhe d' thurs'
Cha 'n am gu tuireadh so no tamh !
Mo chreach mo lamb, bhi 'n diugh gun luth's
Gu dioghladh air son luchd mo ghraidh !
A dbachaidh aigh bu Ian do ghaol
Gach broilleach caomh na d' thaobb a steach,
'S mu'n cuairt dbe d' theallach gheibhte faoilt
Leis an aoidhe aimbeartach.
'S ged bhios mi 'm fhograch thall tliair chuan
Cha teid o m' chuimbn' na h-uairean 6ir
A chaith mi measg do thuilmean uain'
Ach-na-carraidh 'm uachdran sloigh.
ch6in a righ ! se fuil a's driuchd
An diugh air do fhlurain mhaoth,
Do bhaidealan sinnt' anns an uir
Soraidh leat a luchairt ghaoil !
'Sa nis tha lochran seimh na h-oidhche
'Boillsgeadh ort a ghlinn mo chridh',
A's eiginn triall mu 'n toir i soills
Do dhaoidhearan tha air mo thi.
Triallam grad gu beinn an f hraoich
'S am bheil Prionns mo ghaoil ri tamh ;
Soraidh le m' fhine 's le m' dhaoine !
'S bi'dh iad leamsa caomh gu brath.
The following spirited translation of the above is also from Mrs.
Mackellar's pen :
110 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
Must I, the lord of all these hills,
A weary exiled wanderer roam ;
And quietly view thy ruined walls,
My own, my loved ancestral home.
The red-coats burned thy lofty dome
Home by a thousand ties made dear
From war to thee how oft I 've come,
With love's sweet joys, my soul to cheer.
When peace did her white banner rear,
And loving vassal and his lord
Went forth to hunt the roe and deer,
And turned to grace the festal board,
The blood-red wine in plenty poured,
And pibroch told of battles won,
Till Senachie would in pride record
The mighty deeds our sires had done.
Then martial fire, in sire and son,
Would burst into one glowing flame ;
And vows were breathed by every one,
He 'd ne'er disgrace the Cameron name.
When time to raise our banner came,
And fiery cross was swiftly sped,
Where heroes bold did pant for fame,
'Twas aye to victory we led.
The southern foe our name did dread,
Though now Culloden's palm they bear,
They in their own pale blood did tread,
Had all our gallant clans been there.
Come, shade of Bruce, my vigils share,
Come, o'er ungrateful Scotland mourn,
She hath disowned thy rightful heir
Indignant fire my soul doth burn.
To wear a foreign yoke I'd spurn,
Nor 'gainst my lawful king rebel,
That crown and sceptre 's from him torn,
In mercy's cause they fain would tell.
Leaves from my Ge/tic Portfolio. Ill
In Dutch or Guelph doth mercy dwell ?
Ye gallant heroes of Glencoe,
Arise in gory shrouds and tell
Your mournful tale of dool and woe.
Ye heroes great, whose blood did flow
Upon Culloden's dreary moor,
Come tell now when ye were laid low
The savage hound* did stab ye o'er.
Be hushed, my heart, and grieve no more,
This is no time to sit and rest,
I'll hie me to a foreign shore,
And strive to get our wrongs redressed.
Sweet home, within thee every breast
Did glow with love and purity,
And round thy hearth the stranger guest
Found kindest hospitality.
And though exiled beyond the sea,
I'll ne'er forget the golden hours
When I had roamed, a chieftain free,
'Mong Auchnacarry's woodland bowers.
'Tis gore bedews the budding flowers
That spring awakes in glade and dell
Around thy ruined ancient towers,
Home of my heart, farewell, farewell !
With bleeding heart I bid farewell
With you, my brave and faithful clan,
Dear in his exile to Locheil
Will be each gallant Cameron man.
But night's pale lamp lights up the glen,
And I must hide from watchful foes,
I'll hie to where my Prince has lain
In balmy sleep to drown his woes.
112 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
For the following song, I am indebted to Mr. Colin Chisholm,
Inverness. It is the composition of Alastair Mac Iain Bhain, the
Glenmoriston Bard, whose oran an t-saighdear I gave among
these " Leaves" in our last volume :
Thoir ma shoiridh-sa an drasda
Dh-fhios an ait' 'm hheil mo mheanmhuinn,
Gu Duthaich Mhic Phadruig
'S an d'fhuair mi m' arach 's mi 'm leanabau;
Gar an innis mi an drasd' e
Cha deach mo chail dhaibh ail dhearmad
Meud a mhulaid 'bh'air pairt dhiubh
Ann 'san damhar 'an d'fhalbh mi.
Chorus Thoir mo sh61as do'n duthaich
'S bidh mo run dhi gu m' eug,
Far am fksadh a' ghiubhsach
'S an goireadh smudan air gheug,
Thall an aodainn an diinain
Chluinnte thuchan gu reith
Moch 'sa' mhaduinn ri driuchd
An am dusgaidh do'n ghrein.
'S iomadh aite 'n robh m' eolas
Bha mi og anns an armailt ;
Luchd nam fasan cha b" eol domh
Bho na sheol mi thair fairge,
Bha sibh eireachdail stuaime
Mar bu dual duibh le anbharr,
'S rinn sibh 'n t-urram a bhuanachd
'S an taobh-tuath as an d'fhalbh sibh.
'S truagh nach robh mi an drasda
Far am b' abhaist dhomh taghal,
Mach ri aodann nan ard-bheann,
A's stigh gu sail Carn-na-h-eabhaich,
Far an faicinn an lan-damh
'Dol gu laidir 'na shiubhal,
'S mar beanadh leon ua bonn craidh dha
Bu ro mhath 'chail dha na bhruthach.
Gheibhte hoc ann an Ceannachnoc
Agus earbag 'san doire,
Leaves from my Celtic Portfolio. 11$
Coileach dubh au Airidhiamlaich
Air bheag iarraidh 'sa' choille ;
Bhiodh an liath-chearc mar gheard air
'G innse dhan dha roimh theine,
Ach 's gann a thigeadh am bas air
'Nuair bhiodh a gradh do dh-fhear eile.
Gheibhte rachd a's lach riabhach
Anns an riasg air Loch Coilleig,
Coileach ban air an iosal
'Sam b' ghnath do 'n fhiadh a bhi taghal,
Mar bitheadh e farasda thialladh
Na. togaibh sgialachd na m' aghaidh,
Ach 's trie a chunnaic sinn sealgar
Sgith falbh gun dad fhaighinn.
Gheibhte gruagaichean laghach
Bhiodh a taghal 's na gleanntaibh,
'Cuallach spreidhe 's dha 'm bleoghan
An tim an fhaghair 's an t-samhridh
Am p6r a dheanainn a thaghadh
'S gur iad an raghuinn a b-annsa,
Briodal beoil gun bhonn coire
'S nach tigeadh soilleir gu call dhuinn.
Tha mo chion air mo leannan
Leis nach b'aithreach mo luaidh rith'
Tha a slios mar an canach
No mar eala nan cuaintean ;
Tha a p6g mar am fiogas,
'S glan sioladh a gruaidhean,
Suil ghorm as glan sealladh
Fo chaol mhala gun ghruaimean.
The next song which I will give you Thogainn fonn air lorg an
fheidh is one that well deserves a page of our Transactions :
'S miann le breac a bhi 'n sru cas,
'S miann le hoc bhi 'n doire dlu,
'S miann le eilid bhi 'm beinn ard
'S miann le sealgair falbh le 'chu.
Chorus Agus 6 air moro h-6,
Aoill 6 air moro h-6,
Agus 6 air moro h-6,
Thogainn fonn air lorg an fheidh.
114 Gaelic Society of In verness.
Cha mhiann bodaich mo mhiann fein
Cha mhiann leis eiridh ach mall ;
Cha lub gruagach 6g 'na sge
Tarruinnidh e leis fe"in an t-sranu.
Agus 6, &c.
Nichean sin do 'n d'thug mi speis,
'S bu mhiannach learn iad bhi m' chbir
Mo ghunna glaic air dheagh ghleus,
Dlreadh ri beinn, a's bean 6g !__
Agus 6, &c.
'S nichean sin do 'n d' thug mi fuath :
Bean luath a's cii mall ;
Oighre fearainn gun bhi glic,
Agus slios nach altrum clann !
Agus 6, &c.
Bu mhiann leam ri latha fuar :
Dlreadh suas ri aonach cas,
'N uair a thilginn mac an fhe'idh,
Coin air eill, 's ga'n leigeil as.
Agus 6, &c.
Leam bu mhiann bhi 'siubhal bheann ;
Osan teann a bhi mu m' chos,
Brog iallach dhubh, gunna cruaidh,
Eilid ruagh a's cu m'a dos.
Agus 6, &c.
'S ge d' fhaighinn bean a' chinn bhain,
Air mo laimh bu bheag mo speis,
Gu'm b' annsa leam bean dhonn
'Bheireadh trom ghaol domh le ceill.
Agus 6, &c.
Nighean Uilleim anns a' ghleann,
Bean a b' annsa leam fo 'n ghrein ;
'S na'm biodh Uilleam ann am blar,
Gheibhinnse mo gradh dhomh fein.
Agus 6, &c.
Leaves from my Celtic Portfolio. 115
'S mo cheisd air bean a' chinn duibh,
'S docha learn i 'n diugh na'n de,
Mhiad 'sa chuala mi de 'cainnt,
Gar i b'annsa leam fo 'n ghrein.
Agus 6, &c.
Let me follow the above by a good Jacobite song. I am in-
debted for it to an old woman from Skye :
Gur a mis' tha fo mhulad
Air an tulaich 's mor m' eislean !
Chorus Hor6 ho hi hbireanan
H6ro chall eile
Hor6 ho h\ hoireanan !
Mi na m' laidhe ann an Crosal.*
'S trdm an osn' tha fo m' leine,
Chunnaic mise mo leannan
'S cha do dh' fhainich e 'n de mi.
Cha do dh' fhidir 's cha d'fharaid
'S cha do ghabh emo sgeula.
Chunnaic mise mo luaidh
'Dol seach' buaile na spreidhe.
Bha do ghunn' air do ghualainn
'Dol a ruagadh na h-eilde.
Cuim nach guidhean an Donach
Le Clann-Domhnuill nan geur-lann.
Luchd nan calpanan troma
Chite foinnidh fo 'n fheileadh.
* Crosal is in Macleod's country in Skya.
116 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
Luchd nam boghanan iughair
'Chuireadh siubhal fo shaighdean.
Luchd nan gunnachan du-ghorm
'Chuireadh smuid air feadh slelbhe.
Luchd nan claidhmhnean geala
Chitear lainnir la grein' annt'.
Thug sibh mionnan a' bhiobuill
Air strath iosal Alld-Eirinn.
reachadh claidheamh na dhubladh
Gus an cruinte Eigh Seumas.
Gus an deanta High Seoras
A' roiceadh 'sa reubadh.
Horo ho, hi hoireanan
H6ro, chall eile,
Hor6 ho hi h6ireanan !
The following "Soldier's Song" describes the hardships, &c.,
which the early Highland soldiers had to undergo. The ceile to
which the song is addressed is of course the musket :
Chorus. Hiliu, hillin 6, agus 6 hillin e*ile,
Hiliu, hillin 6, agus 6 hillin e"ile,
Air faithill, Ithill 6,
Agus b hillin eile,
Mo nighean donn an t-sugraidh
Mo dhurachd bhi reidh riut.
Tha 'n oidhche nochd gle fhuar
'S mise 'g uallach mo cheile,
Ga giiilan air mo ghualainn,
'S neo-uallach learn fein e :
Leaves from my Celtic Portfolio. 11'
Cha'n fhaod mi 'dhol an uaigneas
No shuairceas ri t' e"ile,
'S cha'n urra mi 'cur bhuam
Bho na fhuair mi bho'n chleir i !
Bho'n fhuair mi far an tuir thu
'S tu ur bharr na feille,
Air learn gu'm b' mhor an cliu
Bhi ga d' ghiiilan gu h-eutrom ;
Ach 'nuair sbeall mi air mo chulaobh
'S mi 'n duil a bhi reidh riut,
Cha tuiginn guth dhe d' chanain
An Gailig no 'm Beurla.
A' chiad la cbuir mi snaim ort
Chaidh maill air mo leirsinn ;
Chaidh di-chuimbn' air mo chuimhne
A's boidhread air m' eisdeachd,
Gus an do chuir an aimbreit
Mo cheann troimhe cheile
Cha tuiginn guth dhe d' chainnt
Measg nan Gall gus an d' eigh thu !
! 's mise 'fhuair an cimnradh
Bean ruisgte gun eideadh,
A laidheas aims na cuiltean,
'S nach ionnlaid mo leine ;
Ach a dh-fheumas mi le burn
A bhi sguireadh a creubhaig,
'S ag giulan cupal phunnd
Eadar uilleadh a's bhreidean.
An gunna ga fhreagairt :
De maith dhut a bhi rium 1
Ged nach cunntar learn spr&dh dhut ;
Bi dollair dhut ga'n cuinneadh
A's flur air gach feill dhut ;
Bi'dh mairteoil, muilteoil, ur
Anns gach butha do'n teid thu ;
'S leat aran cheithir punnd ;
'S do chuid lionn' cha mi dh-eis ort !
118 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
The Lament for " The Four Johns of Scotland " will be my
next piece. The " Four Johns," it may "Be said, were John Mac-
kenzie of Hilton ; John Mackenzie of the Applecross family ; John
Macrae, tacksman of Conchra ; and John Murchison, tacksman of
Auchtertyre. They were officers under Seaforth at Sheriffmuir, and
were killed there hence the Lament. The term by which they
are known, Ceitliir lainean nah-Alba, indicates that they must have
been mighty men and valiant. The cumJta was composed by Kenneth
Macrae, Ardelve. In 1715, he was about 70 years of age, but,
nevertheless, his zeal for the Jacobite cause was such that nothing
would prevent him from being present at Sliabh an t-Siorra. The
UUlearn, to which reference is made in the song, is Seaforth
Uilleam DuVh :
Tha Uilleam cliuiteach an diugh fo chas,
Tha 'chridhe bruite, 's beag ioghnadh dha ;
Bu ghlan ar n-6igriclh o 'n thog e 'n tos iad,
'S gach bratach bhoidheach a bhuineadh dha.
'S ann a Cinntaile so dh'fhalbh na suinn,
Cha robh an aicheadh fo bhrataich Fhinn,
Na fir bha daicheil, 's iad sgaiteach, laidir,
Gur e mo chradh-lot mar tharladh dhuibh.
An latha 'dhlrich sinn ris an aird,
Bha fearg a's fraochan air fir mo ghraidh,
A's claidheamh dubailte 'n crios gach diumhlaich,
A's Spainntich dhu' ghorm an glaic 'ur lamh.
An uair a ghluaiseadh an sluagh a Peairt,
Bha barail thruagh aims an uair ud ac',
Gu'm biodh Alb', 'us Eirinn, 'us Sasuinn r^idh dhoibh,
'S na h-uile ceum dhiubh fo bheum an ghlaic.
Mo chreach-sa fudar a's luaidhe ghlas,
A bhi 'n 'ur suilean a's sibh 'n 'ur teas ;
'Nuair sheas ha fiiiranan ctil ri ciil ann,
Bu bheag an curam dha 'n cuid each.
'Nuair thug mi suil air an triipa ghlais,
Bha fir mo niin-sa 'g an cur 'n an teas,
Mar gharadh aon-fhillt gu'n thilg a' ghaoth iad,
Ach thar na slaodaireansalach as.
Leaves from my Celtic Portfolio. 119
Bha luchd nam balgan sin 'n an cath,
Nam briogsan cainbe 's nan casag glas.
Bu mhor an sgrol iad 'g an cur 'an 6-rdugh,
'S e 'm Brainan mhr a thug sinn a mach.
Gu'n thuit an t-6ganach anns an t-sreup,
An t-Iain o Chonchra, 's bu mh6r am beud,
An curaidh laidir le neart a ghairdean,
A' cur nan aghannan diubh gu feur.
B'e sud Iain Chonchra a bha gun sgath,
B'e 'n duine marbhtach e anns a' bhlar,
Hi sgoltadh cheann fhad 's a mhair a lann da,
'S bha fir gun chainnt ann as de^gh a laimh.
Bha fear Uchdarir ann, 's bu righ air sluagh ;
B'e sud a' fir-ghaisgeach fior-ghlan, cruaidh,
B'e leomhan garg e a bha ro chalma,
Air thus na h-armailt e rompa suas.
B' e sud am milidh 'bha cinnteach, cruaidh,
O'n aitim rloghail bu ro-mhath snuagh,
An teaghlach muirneach, 's fhad sgaoil an cliu as,
A's cha b'e 'sgugaire thainig uath'.
Bha mac Iain oig ann, 's bu mhoir am beud ;
B'e sud an t-6ganach foinnidh, treun,
Le 'chlaidheamh cruadhach o neart a ghualainn,
Gur iomadh gruag a chuir e gu feur.
Bha 'seobhag suairc ann Fear Bhaile-Chnuic,
A' fiuran uasal, 's e laidir, bras,
A' gearradh luthan nan eacha crudhach,
Bu mhillt' a shugradh, 's bu shearbh a ghreis.
Cha bu liugair e 'dol air ghleus,
'S cha bu chubair air chul na sgdith ;
Ach an diumhlach bha cridheil, sunndach,
A dhearbh a dhurachd mnn thuit e fein.
Ach a dhaoine nach cruaidh an cas,
Uilleam cliuiteach a dhol 'n an dail,
Bha 'fhuil le 'ghruaidhean le siubhal luaidhe,
'S bu chulaidh-uamhais 'nuair bhuail e 'ghraisg.
120 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
Mur b'e luaithead 's a rinn iad olc,
'S gu'n d'rinn a' luaidhe gu cruaidh do lot,
Bhiodh claignean ciurrt' aig luchd bhriogsan duinte,
Le lannaibh du ghorm bu mhath 's an trod.
Nach b'e 'fudar an liiigach se61t',
'Nuair thug e 'n crun dheth an taobh bu ch6ir,
Le 'dhrachdan diomhair a' tigh'nn os iosal,
'Se rinn an diobhail a thainig oirnn.
Na. 'm biodh Clann Dbmhnuill air tigh'nn 'nar pdirt,
Na fir mh6ra bu mbath 's a' spairn,
Bu reiteach Rosaich a's Rothaich c6mhla,
A' tigh'nn 'nar c6dhail a dh'iarraidh baigh.
In connection with the " Four Johns," it may be interesting to
give the following song. It was sent to me some time ago by my
friend Mr. F. D. Macdonell, and I cannot do better here than give
his own preface to it :
ORAN DO DH-ANNA NIGHEAN IAIN OIG MHIC IAIN 'iC ALASDAIR 'iC
MHATHAIN, LE COINNEACH MAC-CALMAIN.
Tha cuid ann am beachd gur e duin' uasal a bha anabarrach
fileanta ris an cainte "D6mhnull Aladail" a riun an t-6ran so,
ach fhuair mi dearbhaidhean do-aicheadh gur e b' ughdar d' a
Coinneach roimh ainmichte, tuathanach a bh' anns an Achamhor 'an
Lochaillse. 'Se theirte ris gu cumanta " Coinneach mac Iain 'ic
lomhair." B' e 'athair Iain Uchdarlre, fear a " Cheathrar lainean
na h-Alba, " 's a mharbhadh ann am Blar Sliabh an t-Siorraimh, 's a
bhliadhna 1715, 's e 'n a Mhaidsear ann an arm Mhic-Coinnich.
Bha e comharraichte 's na Garbh-Chriochan air son a mhor neart
agus ailleachd a phearsa. Bha Coinneach fein 'n a dhuine ro chalma,
mar dh' fhaodair a dhearbhadh eadhon air an latha 'n diugh, le
clach a thog 's a charaich e ann an garadh bha e fein 's a nabuidhean
a deanamh ann an Gleann-Udulain, 's bha i air a comharrachadh
riamh o'n uair sin mar iongantas, 's o chionn bheagan bhliadnachan
bha i air a toirt le Dughall Mac-Mhathain, seana bhodach-fleasgaich
a b' iar-ogha dha gu ruig Ard-deilbhe far am faicear i air bruaich
ri taobh an rathaid mhoir. Faodaidh mi innseadh gu'm bi 'm
boirionnach do 'n d' rinn e 'n t-6ran so piuthar mo shin-seana-
Leaves from my Celtic Portfolio- 121
Chorus Hu-o h6 mo chailin laghach,
'S tu mo chailin seadhach, ciuin,
Hu-o h6 mo chailin laghach,
'S tu mo roghainn, thaghainn th.it
lubhrach bhuadhach o na choille,
Dhionaich, dhuallaich, dhiongmhalt dhluith
Ghniomhaich, ghuaillnich, gun bhi corrach,
Theireadh ceud mo leannan thu.
Hu-o h6, &e.
'S tu mo chailin 6g, deas, dealbhach,
'S barail learn nach meanbh do chliu,
Meangan ur o'n fhaillean ainmeil,
Toradh a" preas tarbhach thii.
Hu-o h.6, &c.
'S ionmhuinn 'eucag nan rosg mala,
'Thairg i fein mar sholus dhuinn,
'S inairg a threigeadh tu dha aindeoin,
'S ^ibhinn do 'n ti 'mhealas tu.
Hu-o h.6, &c.
'S binn a' sme6rach anns an doire,
'S binn an eala 'n cois a' 16in,
'S binne na sin guth mo leannain,
'N uair a theannas i ri ce61.
Hu-o h.6, &c.
'S soilleir daoimein ann am fainne,
'S soilleir tulach ard air 16n,
'S soilleir riomhainn ann a' rioghachd,
Aig mo nionaig se tha 'n c6rr.
Hu-o h6, &c.
'S soilleir long mh6r fo 'cuid aodaich,
'S i cur sgaoilidh fo 'cuid se61,
'S soilleir an lath' seach an oidhche,
'S aig mho mhaighdinn fhin tha 'n c6rr.
Hu-o h6, &c.
122 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
'Ghiag shlat iir a's ailte sealladh,
Miar dheth 'n chraoibh a's molaich rusg,
'Ghiag a dh-fhas gu reidh fo dhuilleach
'N te do 'n tug mi gealladh thu.
Hu-o h6, &c.
Suil a 's guirme, gruaidh a's deirge,
Beul a's cuimte m' an deud dhluith,
'S tu nach mealladh mi 'n am earbsa,
Ciod e fath nach leanmhuinn thu.
Hu-o h6, &c.
The following song has not, to my knowledge, been written or
printed anywhere. I have heard it sung with great spirit at many
a gathering in the West Highlands, but have never heard it about
Inverness. It is unnecessary to discuss the doctrine which the
poet teaches us ; but although we may be unanimously against it,
I think the song is well worthy of preservation, as an excellent
specimen of its kind :
An t-uisge beatha, fear mo chridhe,
Thig as lion an stop a rithisd
'S binne learn na piob a's fiodhall
D' fhuaim a' tighinn thun a' bhord,
D' fhuaim a' tighinn thun a' bhord,
B'annsa learn na piob a's clarsach
'.Nuair thig d'fhaileadh fo mo shr6in.
Chorus Cha sguir mise 'm bliadhna 'dh-ol
Cha sguir mise 'm bliadhna 'dh-ol
Cha sguir mi 'ghoraich am feasda
Fhad 's bhios leth-chrun 'na mo phoc,
Cha sguir mise 'm bliadhna 'dh-ol.
Am fear nach ol 's nach iarr 's nach paidh e,
'S olc an companach do chach e,
Guidheam goirt a bhi na fhardaich
Gus an cairear e fho'n fhoid,
Gus an cairear e fo'n fhoid,
Gus an cairear anns an uaigh e,
'S am b6rd-uachdair air a shroin !
Leaves from my Celtic Portfolio. 123
'N uair a bhios mo chloinn-sa 'caoineadh
'S an t-ocras a' diogladh an caolain,
'.N uair bhios mise fo na 'n daoraich
Cha bhi cuimhn' air glaodh nam br6n,
Cha bhi cuimhn' air glaodh nam br6n,
Cha bhi cuimhn' air glaodh nan truaghan,
'S och mo thruaighe cha b'e choir.
Na bodaich, ged chrbm an aois iad,
A's an cinn cho geal ri caora,
'Nuair a gheibh iad Ian an taomain,
Leumaidh iad gu h-aotrom og,
Leumaidh iad gu h-aotrom og,
Leumaidh iad gu h-aotrom uallach
Cheart cho guanach ris na h-eoin.
Am fear a dh' iarr 'sa dh'ol 'sa phaigh e,
'S math an companach do chach e,
Gheibh e cliu am measg nan Gaidheal,
'S bi' e riaraichte ri 'bheo,
Bi' e riaraichte ri 'bheo,
Bi' e riaraichte am feasda,
'S cha tig easbhuidh air a ph6c.
Mac-na-Bracha 'n t-oigear uasal,
'S ioma rum as aite fhuair e,
Cuiridh e braithrean a thuasaid,
Dh'fhiachainn co 's cruaidhe dorn,
Dh'fhiachainn co 's cruaidhe dorn,
Dh'fhiachainn co 's cruaidhe rudan,
'S cha b'e siigradh bhi na'n coir.
Gu'm beil anail Horn cho cubhraidh,
'S a tha faileadh nan ubhlan,
Fhad 'sa mheallas sinn do shugradh,
Ciod e chuireadh curam oirn ?
Ciod e chuireadh curam oirn 1
Curam cha 'n eil oirn no gruaimean,
'S glaodhaidh sinn a nuas an stop.
I will conclude these " Leaves" for the present by quoting some
Highland spells Eblais. We all know of the belief our ancestors
had in the efficacy of their spells. There was Eblas an deididh,
124 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
Eblas air sgiuchadh feith, Eblas an tairbhein, &c., all of which were
believed to possess great virtues. A peculiarity about them was
that persons of the same sex should not learn them from one an-
other ; and in order to be efficacious, a man must learn the eblas
from a woman, and a woman from a man. I will, in the first place,
give you Eblas air greim mionaich.
Greim Mionaich was no uncommon complaint in the Highlands,
and where is the Highland boy who had never a greim or " stitch"
in his side after a long and difficult race ? The Eblas which I am
about to give you used to be said in such cases an ainm an Athar,
a' Mhic 's an Spioraid Naoimh. I learned it when a boy in my native
parish from a decent old woman, who, as she confided to me the
secret, stroked my hair, and affectionately addressed me " Uilleam
a laoigli, ionnsaichidh mis' eblas dut" and the Eblas she taught me
is subjoined. It was given, she said, by the Slanaighear fhein
'nuair a bha e air an talamh. Jesus, she added in sad and solemn
tones, having had to escape for his life from the Jews, entered a
house and sought refuge. Fear-an-tighe, or the goodman of the
house, did not believe in him, and would at any time join the Jews
in putting him to death.. He, however, was not in when Jesus ar-
rived ; but he met him outside, and received him very grimly.
Jesus, notwithstanding, went into the house and found Bean-an-
tighe, or the good wife in. She had great faith in him, and gave
him food and shelter. Knowing her husband's antagonism to him,
she thought it necessary to conceal him from him. One end of the
house was used as a byre, and it so happened that the byre had
just been cleaned mucked. The good woman bestrewed the bot-
tom of the carcair with calg d Un, and Jesus lay down on it. She
then covered him over with the same material, and thus he escaped
the search of his foes. Before leaving he wished to recompense the
good woman for her kindness to him, but he had nothing to give,
except the following Eblas, by which suffering humanity might be
occasionally relieved, and her kindness and his safety amid great
tribulation commemorated. The person suffering from the greim
mionaich would have to rub the afflicted part, and as he did so, to
repeat the words of the E61as, which were as follows :
An ainm an Athar, a' Mhic, 's an Spioraid Naoimh ;
Duine fiat a muigh,
Bean fhial a stigh,
Criosd 'na laidh air calg a' lln
'S math an leigheas air an t-seilg sin.
Leaves from my Celtic Portfolio. 125
Let me now give you the " Eblas air sgiuchadh feith," or
Eblas air sniomh, as it is sometimes called. When a man sprained
a joint, he was to consult a woman who knew the E61as (and when
a similar mishap befell a woman, she was to consult a man) it
being necessary to give some gift, however small in value, to the
person consulted. The mode of treatment was thus : The skilled
person would put a thread (usually a worsted one) into his or her
mouth, and then repeated the E61as in low and solemn tones. The
thread was then tied round the injured part, and would be left on
until it broke off itself, through tear and wear. The Eolas was in
these terms :
Chaidh Criosda mach
'Sa' mhaduinn mhoich,
'S fhuair e casan nan each,
Air am bristeadh mu seach.
Chuir e cnaimh ri cnaimh,
Agus feith ri feith,
Agus fe6il ri fe6il,
Agus craicionn ri craicionn,
'S mar leighis esan sin
Gu'n leighis mise so.*
Let me now give you Eblas an deididh, and let me hope it will
be found of value to any member of this Society who may occasion-
ally be troubled with toothache. You all know Di-moladh an
deididh by William Eoss, but Eolas an deidioh is not quite so
common. It was as follows :
Seachd paidir a h-aon,
Seachd paidir a dha,
Seachd paidir a tri,
Seachd paidir a ceithear,
* This mode of treatment forcibly reminds one of the manner in which
Panurge joined Epistemon's head to his body in restoring him to life. Of the
account of that wonderful work I quote the following : Apres les oignit de je ne
s<jai quel oignement, et les afusta justement veine centre veine, nerf centre nerf,
spondyle contre spondyle," &c. Vide Rabelais, Book II., Chap. 30.
The following is another version of Eblas air SniomA :
Paidir Mhoire h-aon,
Paidir Mhoire dha,
Paidir Mhoire tri
Chaidh Criosd air muin as
'S thug e sniomh dha chas,
'S mu'n d' rainig e 'n lar
Bha e slan air ais.
126 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
Seachd paidir a coig,
Seachd paidir a sia,
Seachd paidir a seachd.
An orra rinn Muire mhin,
Do Phadruig uasal aluinn,
Air chnoidh, air cheann, air chinn,
Air ruaidh, air at, air arnun.
Thuirt Abraham ri losa Criosd
'S iad a falbh air sliabh Bheitris,
"Cha'n urrainn mise coiseachd
No mairceachd leis an deideadh."
Thuirt losa Criosd ri Abraham,
" Cha bhi chnoidh sin anns a cheann sin :
' Mach an deideadh, niach an deideadh.' "
Da uair an deigh cheile.
" Fios air neamh a's fios air talamh,
Fios aig do righ air do ghalar ;
Cnoidh a's deideadh chuir fo'n talamh,
Seachd paidir a h-aon,
Seachd paidir a dha,
Seachd paidir a tri,
Seachd paidir a ceithear,
Seachd paidir a coig,
Seachd paidir a sia,
Seachd paidir a seachd.
'Neart nan seachd paidir
Einn, Muire mhor, a Dhe nan dul,
Do'n chleireach naomh, cuir do dhonas a's do dholas.
Air a' chlach ghlas ud thall,
'S air buidheann na h-eucorach ! "
I will now give you the Eblas to cure one suffering from the
effects of an " Evil Eye." The modus operandi was thus : Coins
of gold, silver, and copper would be put into a basin full of water.
The skilled one would repeat the Eblas, and in doing so, would
bend over the basin, at the same time blowing the water with his
breath. The water uisg 1 bir, or uisg' airgid as it might be called
would then be sprinkled on the suffering one. The E61as is as
'S e 'n t-suil a chl,
'S e 'n cridhe 'smuanaicheas,
Leaves from my Celtic Portfolio. 127
'S e 'n teanga 'labhras.
'S mise 'n triuir 'tha gu tilleadh so ortsa
[Here the name of the person to be cured is said.]
An ainm an Athar, a' Mhic, 's an Spioraid Naoimh.
I did not get a name for the following Eolas, but the purpose
of it was to make physical objects invisible to ordinary eyes. It
was believed to be of great service to hunters who, by its aid, could
come home laden with game from the forests, yet no one could see
that they had anything ! This precious spell was as follows :
Fa fithe cuiream ort
Bho chu, bho chat,
Bho bh.6, bho each,
Bho dhuine, bho bhean,
Bho ghille, bho nighean,
'S bho leanabh beag
Gus an tig mise rithisd,
An ainm an Athar, a' Mhic, 's an Spioraid Naoirnh.
The next spell is called Eolas air Sealmachas. It is well known
that many Highland cows refuse to give milk on all occasions, and
they are particularly difficult to manage after their calves are taken
from them. The Eolas air Sealmachas was to cause them to give
milk when required, and for that purpose the dairymaid repeated
it as follows :
An t-E61as a rinn Calum Cille
'Dh-aona bho na caillich
Air thabhairt a' bhainne
'N deigh marbhadh a laoigh,
Bho fheithean a droma
Gu feithean a tarra,
'S bho fheithean a tarra
Gu feithean a taobh
Bho bhun a da chluaise
Gu smuais a da leise
Air thabhairt a bhainne
Air 'mharbhadh d' a laogh.
I will conclude with Eolas an tairlhein. It is as follows :
An t- Eolas a rinn' Calum Cille
'Dh-aona mhart na caillich
128 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
Bha cas Chalum Chille 'sa' churachan
'S a chas eil' air tir
" A thairbhein a thainig thar chuan
'S o bhun na talmhainn fada thall
Air mhial, air bhalg
Air ghalar dearg.
A lughdachadh do bhuilge,
'S a mharbhadh do mhial,
A mharbhadh fiolan fionn,
A mharbhadh fiolan donn,
A mharbhadh biast do leann,
A mharbhadh an tairbhean,
Gu'm faigh thu leasachadh
Aghachain tog do cheann."
HTH MAT, 1879.
At this meeting, Sheriff Nicolson, Kirkcudbright, and Mr.
Charles Macbean, 42 Union Street, Inverness, were elected ordi-
nary members. Mr. John Mackay, of Ben Reay, read the first
part of a paper by him on Mackay 's Regiment.
21sT MAY, 1879.
At this meeting, Rev. Alexander Cameron, Glengarry ; Mr.
James Grant, M.A., Register House, Edinburgh ; and Mr. William
Fraser, Assistant Draper, Castle Street, Inverness, were elected
ordinary members ; and the reading of the paper on Mackay's
Regiment, begun last week, was concluded. Mr. Mackay's paper
was as follows :
MACKAY'S REGIMENT :
A narrative of the principal services of the Regiment, from its
formation in 1626, to the battle of Nordlingen, in 1634 ;
and of its subsequent incorporation with the Corps now
known as The Royal Scots or First Regiment of Foot of the
When King James VI. of Scotland became also King of
England, there followed a lengthened period of peace and quiet-
ness throughout the two kingdoms, which was in striking contrast
Mackay's Regiment 129
to the warlike and unsettled state of affairs that preceded his reign.
For men brought up to arms there was little or nothing to do in
their profession at home, and, as they could not remain idle, they
looked abroad for military employment. Vast numbers of brave
and adventurous men accordingly left Scotland in search of fame
and fortune, and took service under the banners of the various
princes who were then warring for supremacy on the continent of
Europe. There was soon plenty to do. Strong hands and stout
hearts were wanted ; for, before the first quarter of the seventeenth
century had passed, a fierce war was raging, which convulsed the
whole of Europe. This was the long and terrible struggle, now
known in history as the thirty years 1 war. That war had begun
by the Elector Palatine (Frederick IV.) accepting the crown of
Bohemia, offered to him by the protestants of that country, who
were then in the ascendant, and trying to carry everything with
a high hand. The Elector had married the Princess Elizabeth
Stuart, daughter of King James VI. of Scotland ; and many Scottish
cavaliers, afterwards found fighting on the side which became identi-
fied as that for the preservation of civil and religious liberty, had
joined in the struggle, simply because the Princess was looked upon
as one of themselves. This explains how such leaders as Sir
Andrew Gray and Sir John Hepburn, and other Eoman Catholic
gentlemen were found in the protestant ranks. It was the principle
of loyal devotion to then- King's daughter that led them to enter
the struggle, and not any preference for the Elector rather than
the Emperor, for the interests of both rulers were alike indifferent
to them. The accepting of the crown of Bohemia by the Elector,
led the Emperor of Austria to oppose his claim. Both had their
friends and allies, and in a short time the whole of Germany was
involved in the struggle.
Prominent among the military adventurers of the time was Sir
Donald Mackay. He was born in 1590, had been knighted by
King James in 1616, and was just in the prime of life, when, early
in 1626, he left his home in the far North and proceeded to London
to request permission from King Charles I. to raise a regiment for
service abroad. His object, as he informed the King, was to assist
Count Mansfeldt, the leader of the Bohemian army, in the war he
was then waging on behalf of the Elector against Austria. The
King favoured his project, and instructed the Privy Council to
grant his request. The requisite commission was issued on 6th
March, and in it Sir Donald was authorised to levy and transport
2000 men for the purpose named. He then returned to Scotland,
and in a short time nearly 3000 men, levied almost entirely among
130 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
his own clan and kinsmen, were ready to follow him on foreign
service. The regiment was thus easily raised.* It consisted of
eleven companies ; but as no muster roll of the regiment, so far
as I know, is now in existence, and as a company in those days
numbered from 150 to 300 men, I have not been able to ascertain
its strength when it left Scotland. Sir Eobert Gordon, in his
History, states that he saw the greater part of the levies (that is
the 3000 men above-mentioned) embark at Cromarty for the Conti-
nent. Grant, again, in his Memoirs of Sir John Hepburn, gives
the strength of the regiment as only 1500 men, but he adduces no
authority for the statement. Munro, however, in his Expedition,
which is the best authority extant on the history of the regiment,
gives certain returns, from which it is evident that the number must
have been at least 2000.
No regiment of modern times can show a list of officers t
superior to those selected by Sir Donald Mackay. Most of them
were of good families and position, and better men could not
be found. Even among the non-commissioned officers and privates,
there were many gentlemen's sons, and Munro of Fowlis joined as
a volunteer. J
According to the military system of the time, the Eegiment
*Lord Forbes (Sir Donald' cousin) furnished 800 of the men ; but it would be
a mistake to suppose that the Regiment was entirely composed of volunteers, for
in the Privy Council Records for 22nd August, 1626, it is ordered that Robert
Abrach M'Gregor and others, who were prisoners in the Tolbooth of Edinburgh,
were to be delivered to Sir Donald Mackay to serve in his Regiment. " In the
ranks," says Chambers (Domestic Annals of Scotland, vol. II., p 10), "were in-
cluded a small band of Macgregors, who had been lying for some time in the
Tolbooth of Edinburgh, on account of their irregularities, and who are said to
have proved good soldiers under regular discipline, and with a legitimate outlet
for their inherent turbulence and courage."
t See list of officers at the end of this paper.
J After serving in Mackay's Regiment for some time as a volunteer, so as to
see service and obtain experience, Fowlis returned to Scotland, and raised a
company among his own clansmen. "With these he again joined Mackay's Regi-
ment as a Captain. He afterwards became a Colonel in the army of Gustavus.
The author of the Expedition writes as follows : " My Chief e and Cosen, the
Baron of Fowles, being in his travels in France a little prodigall in his spending,
redacted his estate to a weake point, being advised by his friends timely io looke
to the wounds of his house and family, and to forsee the best cure to keep bur-
then off his estate, having engaged his Revenewes for teene years, to pay his
Creditors, he went beyond sea a volunteer to Germanic with Mac-Keyes Regi-
ment, well accompanyed with a part of his nearest friends ; and having the
patience to attend his fortune, his first employment was to be a Captaine of a
company of Scots souldiers, leavied by himselfe, and thereafter advanced to be
a Colonell of horse and foot of strangers, under the invincible King of Sweden
of worthy memorie.
"Thus farre of the Ban-on of Fowles ... to animate other Cavaliers
borne of lesse fortunes to follow his vertues in being patient, though their pre-
ferments come not at first, loving vertue for her end."
Mackay's Regiment 131
consisted of pikemen and musketeers ; and taking the proportions
usual in those days, Mackay's force, if 2000 strong, would he made
up of ahout 800 of the former, and 1200 of the latter. The strongest
men were always selected to handle the pike, which was a spear
14 to 18 feet long, and in the hands of trained powerful men,
must have "been a most formidable weapon. The pikemen carried
swords in addition to their pikes. The musketeers had matchlock
muskets, swords, and daggers ; and every soldier was usually pro-
tected by a helmet, gorget, buff coat, and breastplate. Such was
the ordinary military equipment of the period.
But in what uniform did Sir Donald Mackay's men appear ?
Although Munro in his Expedition does not say anything on the
subject, I think I am safe in assuming that the kilt was the great
distinguishing dress of the Regiment. Grant, in his Memoirs of
Sir John Hepburn, makes frequent mention of " Mackay's Kilted
Highlanders ; " and in Philip Hollo he thus describes the Regi-
ment : " The whole were uniformly accoutred in steel caps and
buff coats, the officers being fully armed in bright plate to the waist,
and having plumes in their head-pieces ; their kilts were of dark
green tartan, and belted up to the left shoulder, according to the
custom of Highlanders when going on service. The musketeers
carried their powder in bandoliers ; and, in addition to his dirk,
every officer and man wore the claymore or genuine old Highland
sword, which could be used with both hands. Their purses were
of white goatskin, and properly adorned with silver." " The offi-
cers are said, in addition to rich buttons, to have worn a gold chain
round the neck, to secure to the owners, in case of being taken
prisoners, good treatment from the enemy, in hope of a lucrative
* In the British Museum there is a collection of illustrated broadsides, prin-
ted in Germany during the thirty years war. One of these prints (a copy of
which is given in Mr. J. F. Campbell's Tales of the West Highlands, Vol. IV.) repre-
sents four Highlanders. Three are dressed in the kilt, and one in something like
a kilt, so tied in at the knees as to resemble knickerbockers. One of the three
has the belted plaid, brogues, and mogans ; while another has no covering for his
legs and feet. Two are armed with bows and arrows, one has a musket, and the.
fourth a staff in his hand, which may, perhaps, be intended for a pike. Surround-
ing the print there is the following in German : " The 800 foreigners who have
arrived in Stettin, go about in such garments. They are a strong and hardy race,
and subsist upon very little food. When they have no bread they will eat roots ;
and in an emergency they can go over 20 German miles [70 English miles] in a
day. They carry muskets, bows and arrows, and long knives." The words I have
trap slated foreigners (in the original Irrlander oder Irren), mean literally Irish-
men or Wanderers. If the words are taken as meaning Irish, then the inference
is that some of the Lowland Scotch soldiers (of whom there were many then in
Germany), on being asked who those foreigners were in the strange dress, replied
that they were Erse or Erish, a name in that day commonly given to High-
132 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
The flags of the Eegiment were the national ensign of Scotland,
and the banner of Sir Donald Mackay.
All arrangements being completed, the whole force assembled at
Cromarty, where ships were in waiting to convey them to the Con-
tinent. Many of the men exhibited a strength and a stature such
as can seldom be seen now-a-days ; and Sir Donald's own company
(the " gentlemen of the Colonells company," as Munro describes
them) consisted of picked men, chiefly, it is said, from the districts
of Strath Naver and Strath Halladale.*
It must have been a glorious sight to witness the entry of the
brave and gallant band into Cromarty. They were the flower of
Duthaich Mhic-Aoidh, the country of the Mackay s. Marching in
sections, six abreast, we can easily imagine how, with colours flying,
pipes playing, and drums beating, they would approach the town.
The burnished musket barrels and tall pikes, the glittering helmets
and polished breastplates, the nodding plumes and flashing steel,
the measured tread of so many feet, and the regular motion and
waving of the tartan, must have excited a sense of emotion and
enthusiasm in the minds of all who beheld them, never to be for-
gotten ; for assuredly no finer or braver men ever left their
country for a foreign war.
On the 10th October, 1626, the fleet set sail, and, after a
passage of five days, arrived safely at Gluckstadt, on the Elbe.
Here the Eegiment disembarked, and immediately after landing
(I quote from Monro, his Expedition^) " was quartered in the fat
landers by the inhabitants of the south and west of Scotland. Or, if the word
"Wanderers is taken (Irren, in old German, meaning literally to wander or lose
one's way), then the reference may be to the fact, that the soldiers having come
from a distant country, they could, with all propriety, be called Wanderers.
But one thing is certain, the whole of Mackay's Regiment was in Stettin in
1630, and the print is probably intended to let the Germans see what sort of men
Highland soldiers were. Even if there were no other evidence, it establishes the
fact that the kilt was the uniform of the Regiment. Mackay's was thus the first
regularly organised regiment of which we have any record, that was dressed in THE
GARB OP OLD GAUL.
* The men of Strath Naver and Strath Halladale were long celebrated for
their extraordinary size and soldierly bearing. Even so late as the beginning of
the present century, when the 93rd Regiment was formed, the men in it, who
were drawn to a great extent from these districts, showed not only by their size
and strength, but, above all, by their high moral character, that they were no
unworthy successors of those who distinguished themselves so gallantly during
the thirty years' war.
If, however, we wish to see the descendants of these truly noble men, we
must unfortunately not look for them now in the land of their fathers. Owing
to the mistaken policy, known as the Clearances, they are to be found chiefly in
Canada not in Scotland.
t " MONRO, HIS EXPEDITION WITH THE WORTHY SCOTS REGIMENT (called
Mac-Keyes Regiment), levied in August, 1626, by Sir Donald Mac-Key, Lord
Mhees Colonell, for his Majesties service of Denmark," &c. London, 1637.
Mackay's Regiment 133
and fertile soyle of Holsten, nothing inferiour in fertilitie to any
part of Dutchland, except in wines, having come in abundance,
wheat and barly ; in milke nothing inferiour to Holland ; and for
the most part inhabited by Hollanders, especially the Cities. Their
Gentry live like Noblemen, and their Communaltie live like Gentle-
men." They remained in Holstein about six months, and, from
Munro's account, seem to have had very comfortable winter quarters.
Sir Donald, owing to sickness, had not been able to embark
with his men, but on his recovery, Munro tells us " he tooke shipping
from Scotland to Holland, and from thence overland " to join them.
He "arrived in the latter end of March, anno 1627, in Holsten,
where he was welcomed by his Regiment."*
THE REGIMENT TAKES SERVICE UNDER THE KING OP DENMARK.
I have mentioned that the Kegiment was raised for the purpose
of assisting Count Mansfeldt, the leader of the Bohemian army,
in the war against Austria. Owing, however, to the death of that
general, it became necessary to make other arrangements for the
service of the Highlanders. These were soon completed by Sir
Donald, who entered into an agreement with the King of Denmark
to fight under his banner. This was a natural step to take, for the
Danish King had embarked in the same cause as Count Mansfeldt,
and besides, he was uncle to King Charles I. and the Princess
Elizabeth, and thus service under him was quite in harmony with
the feelings of the Scottish soldiers and their leaders.
" During the tedious winter the Regiment was " in Holstein, says
Munro, it was " well exercised and put under good discipline, as
well the particular companies as the whole Regiment, so that mine
* Among those who accompanied Sir Donald, mention must be made of Mr.
(afterwards Sir) Robert Farquhar of Mounie. He seems to have acted as purse-
bearer or paymast er, and in his Papers there is a statement of the money he
disbursed in Scotland and Holland for Sir Donald, between 2nd January and
22nd March, 1627. The piiucipal entries are for wines and other drinkables, and
some of the items are rather curious. On embarking at Leith, there is paid " for
ane rubber of Frensche wyne 21. 12/ . . . Our supper in Bremmell 13 of
Februar 8. 2/. Payit seing the Kirk thair 4/, drink silver 8/. Payit seing the
Kirk and stepill of Dort 12/. Payit in syned-hous for wyne and breid thair 12/.
Our supper in Rotterdam 15 of Februar 6j. Drink silver thair, and f or beir,
succar, and nutmuggs 14/. . . . For ane new sword to his Lordship in Amster-
dam 15/. Payit for mending and washing the Colonell's blew wastcot in Amster-
Farquhar 's papers are at Gordonstown, where they are preserved with the
extensive and interesting collection bearing on the history of the North of Scot-
land during the Seventeenth Century, belonging to Sir W. G. Gordon Gumming,
Bart. (Sixth Report of Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts, p. 686.)
134 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
eyes," he adds, " did never see a more complete Regiment, for
bodies of men and valiant souldiers."
Before the arrival of Sir Donald, a hitch had occurred regard-
ing the regimental colours, which, however, was settled without
any breach of friendship between our countrymen and the Danes,
although it is said to have rankled in the breast of the King. The
case was this : His Majesty of Denmark " would have the officers
to carry the Danes crosse, which the officers refusing they were
summoned to compeare before His Majestie at Raynesberge, to know
the reasons of their refusalls ; at the meeting none would adventure,
fearing his Majesties indignation to gainestand openly his Majesties
will, being then his Majesties sworne servants ; and for the eschew-
ing of greater inconvenience, the officers desired so much time of
his Majestie as to send Captaine Robert Ennis into England, to
know his Majestie of Great Britaines will, whether or no they
might carrie without reproach the Danes crosse in Scottish colours :
Answer was returned they should obey their will under whose pay
they were, in a matter so indifferent." The Danish Cross was
accordingly borne as one of the flags ; but the Regiment did not
give up the Scottish Cross of St. Andrew, but continued to carry
Immediately after the arrival of Sir Donald, orders were given
that his Regiment should proceed to Itzehoe, to be inspected by
the King of Denmark, and take the oath of fidelity to that sove-
Munro describes the scene. " The Regiment being come to-
gether at the Rendezvouz, was drawn up in three divisions, attend-
ing his Majesties comming, in good order of battaile, all officers
being placed according to their stations orderly, Colours fleeing,
Druuimes beating, horses neying, his Majestie comes royally for-
ward, Salutes the Regiment, and is saluted againe with all due
respect, and reverence, used at such times ; his Majestie having
viewed Front, Flancks and Reare, the Regiment fronting alwayes
towards his Majestie, who having made a stand ordained the Regi-
ment to march by him in divisions, which orderly done, and with
great respect, and reverence, as became ; his Majestie being mightily
well pleased did praise the Regiment, that ever thereafter was most
praise worthy. The Colonell, and the principall officers having
kissed his Majesties hand, retired to their former stations, till the
oath was publikely given, both by officers and souldiers being
drawne in a Ring by conversion, as use is at such times. The Oath
finished, the Articles of Warres reade, and published, by a Banko
of the Drummer Major, and his associates, the Regiment remitted,
Mackay's Regiment 135
marches off orderly by companies, to their quarters, to remaine till
orders were given for their up-breaking."
The next day Sir Donald received instructions to take seven
companies of the Eegimeut across the Elbe. Two of these com-
panies were to be left at Stade for the protection of that town, and
Sir Donald was then to proceed with five companies towards the
Weser, and join the English forces then in the service of Denmark.
The English troops were under the command of General Morgan,
a brave old Welshman, and an officer of considerable experience.
The remaining four companies of the Regiment were to march to
Lauenburg, as there was some apprehension that the Imperialists
might cross the Elbe in that neighbourhood. The English troops
were quartered near Bremen, and the five companies of Highlanders
remained with them ten weeks, having " great dutie in watching,
many alarummes, but little service," although the enemy was not
While encamped with General Morgan's forces, Mackay's
soldiers felt it to be a grievance, and were naturally a little dis-
contented that the English regiments should be getting regular
weekly pay, whereas they were only being provided with rations
of " bread, beere, and bacon." Sir Donald therefore left head-
quarters and proceeded to Hamburg, to solicit money for the pay-
ment of his officers and men.* Munro praises him for this, and
makes the following observation : " It is a great part of a Colonells
dutie timely to foresee for all things necessary that may give con-
tent to those under his command, lest being justly discontented,
he might be grieved, whiles it were not in his power to helpe him-
selfe, or others. The liberality of a Colonell and his care in fore-
seeing for his Eegiment, returnes to him oftimes with triple profit,
being with moderation familiar with his officers, making them, as
humble friends, not as servants, under command, and he ought by
all means eschewe to come in question, or publique hearing with
his officers : the onely means to make himselfe famous, and his
Eegiment of long continuance."
* In the Papers at Castle Forbes, there is a letter to Lord Forbes, endorsed
"Letter from Sir Donald Makky, Colonell out off Germany, brocht hame be
Mr. Robert Farquhar, burgess off Aberdein, 1627," which shows that although
Sir Donald was not a mercenary soldier, yet he was not inclined to continue
with the King of Denmark, unless he was paid for the services of his Regiment.
The letter is dated from the leaguer at Wasterbad, 12th June, 1627, and evi-
dently refers to the visit made to Hamburg above referred to. It "contains
some curious details of the position of the King's army and that of his opponents,"
and Sir Donald, after commenting on the small pay given by the King, adds,
" bot iff he opines not his pourss I will sik ane uther maister ; the King of Speen
is ane treu man and ane good payer." (Second Report of Royal Commission on
Historical Manuscripts, p. 195.)
136 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
At the end of ten weeks, orders were received by Sir Donald
to march with his men to Boitzenburg, there to join the four com-
panies which had been sent to Lauenburg, but which had been
moved from the latter to the former town. They left General
Morgan on the 10th July, 1627, accompanied by a regiment of
cavalry as their convoy, and quartered the first night at Rotten-
burg " a strong passe, having a great Marrish on both sides, acces-
sible onely by one narrow causey, which leads through the marrish
to the Castell, which is well fensed on both sides with Moates,
Drawbridges, and slaught homes, without all."
After several alarms, without however coming to an engage-
ment with the enemy, they arrived at Buxtehude, which had been
appointed as their first rendezvous. Instructions were given to
continue the march by way of Hamburg and Lauenburg, and to
take up quarters at Boitzenburg, where they were to remain for
further orders. The reason for this change of quarters is thus
given by Munro. " All marches are occasioned by the accidents
of the warfare. The reason of this march was the enemie's Army
drawing strong to a head in Lunniburgli land, of intention to force
a passage over the Elve to come the easier to Holsten : his Majestic
being weake of foote in this quarter, having no great feare of his
enemie on the Waser, where we lay before ; we were therefore
called to joyne with the rest of our Regiment at Bysenburgh.
Another reason of this march was, the King's force in Silesia being
also weake of Foote, standing in great neede of a timely supply,
we being able to endure a long march, his Majestie resolved, after
besetting well the passe on the Elve, to send us for a supply unto
the Silesian Armie : Nevertheless many times we see in warres,
though things be long advised on, and prosecuted after advise duely,
yet the advent doth not alwayes answer to mans conjectures : For
it is a true old saying, Man proposeth, but God disposeth."
At Boitzenburgh they had a happy meeting with their comrades,
but they were not destined to be long together. In a few days
orders were received that the Regiment must again separate. The
Colonel and Lieutenant-Colonel, with seven companies, were in-
structed to march to Ruppin in Brandenburg ; while four com-
panies, under the command of Major Dunbar, were to remain for
the defence of Boitzenburg.
Sir Donald was very much disappointed that the King should
again have ordered the Regiment to be divided without his con-
sent. The officers and men also grumbled at the arrangement,
but, nevertheless, they faithfully obeyed orders. Two reasons have
been assigned for this action on the part of the King : first, the
Mackoy's Regiment, 137
refusal of the officers to give up the Scottish Colours, which, it is
reported, angered him, and led to his ordering the Eegiment to
posts of the greatest danger ; and second, a dispute which Sir
Donald had with him about the cashiering of some of the officers
for alleged inefficiency. The King insisted on having his own way,
notwithstanding all Sir Donald could say on the subject. Two of
the officers referred to were Captain Learmonth (brother of Lord
Balcomy) and Captain Duncan Forbes, most efficient men, and
highly esteemed by Sir Donald.
Munro mentions that the parting between the two divisions of
the Regiment was very affecting. There seemed to be a presenti-
ment of impending evil, and Captain Learmonth, on taking leave
of Sir Donald and other officers, " did with griefe in a manner
foretell his owne fall, alleging they should never meet againe."
The sequel proved the truth of the sad foreboding.
Boitzenburg is a small town pleasantly situated at the junction
of the Boitze and the Elbe, and being one of the leading highways
into Denmark, its defence was of great importance. The inha-
bitants, who feared the cruelties so frequently inflicted by the
enemy, had all fled. A vast force of the Imperialists, under John
de Tsercla, Count of Tilly, was approaching Denmark from the
centre of Germany, and one of the columns was marching directly
upon the point these four companies of Highlanders were ordered
to defend. Tilly in early life was a Jesuit priest, but having seen
the virgin in a vision, as he said, command ing him to take up arms
in defence of the Church, he entered the army, and his talents and
bravery soon won him a baton. He was undoubtedly an able
general; but .he was cruel and uncompromising, and the horror,
caused by his many deeds of atrocity carried terror wherever he
It was on the third day after the departure of Sir Donald with
the main portion of the Kegiment, that the approach of the enemy
was announced. They came to a halt within cannon shot distance,
and at once began preparations for the siege.
But Major Dunbar had not been idle. He was well versed in
the theory, as well as the sterner practice of war, and had every
qualification for a commander. He left nothing undone that would
enable him to defend his post like a man of honour. He under-
mined the bridge, repaired the weak places in the walls, and erected
a strong sconce on the Luneberg side of the town. This sconce the
enemy resolved to storm. Once across the Elbe, the rich and
fertile plains of Holstein could be easily overrun, and would be
entirely at their mercy.
138 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
The four companies of Highlanders numbered only about six
hundred men, while the attacking force numbered at least ten
The first night a gallant and successful sortie was made, under
the personal leadership of Major Dunbar, and after inflicting a
severe punishment on the advanced posts of the Imperialists, the
little band returned to the town, with scarcely any loss. The
enemy were determined to be avenged for this, and on the following
day attacked the sconce at all points, but after a long and desperate
struggle were beaten off, with a loss of over five hundred men.
But fresh troops were pressed forward, and again the attack was
renewed with increased fury ; the front rank rushed on, and with
hatchets attempted to force a passage through the palisades ; then
the artillery opened fire, and every now and then a heavy cannon
shot would boom overhead, or crash among the roofs of the houses ;
or, with a dull heavy thud, sink into the turf breastwork of the
sconce. The defenders replied with their brass culverins, and every
shot must have made a frightful lane through the dense column of
attack. A close and deadly fire, too, was poured by the Highland
musketeers upon the Imperialists, and though the latter replied
with equal rapidity, yet they could not with equal effect, for the
Highlanders were protected breast high, by the earthen parapets,
while the assailants were wholly exposed. The whola fort was
soon enveloped in smoke : the enemy could not be seen, but the
crash of their axes was heard among the falling palisades, and the
cries of the wounded told of the dreadful carnage. The Imperialists
were baffled, and again fell back. But a third, and even more
desperate attempt was made to carry the sconce. The, sconce, I may
here remark, defended the bridge, and if captured, the Imperialist
cavalry might have crossed the Elbe, and overrun Holstein before
the king could have been informed that Boitzeuburg had fallen.
The defenders felt that every effort would be strained by the
enemy to carry the little fort by storm. If numbers could accom-
plish this, its fall was certain. The storming parties came on in
great force, and made a most vigorous assault ; but the firing of
the Highland musketeers once more told with deadly effect. The
thunder of the enemy's artillery was incessant, yet the shot did
more damage to the houses of the deserted town than to the earth-
works of the sconce. Again the culverins were brought into play,
and, under Dunbar's directions, did dreadful execution on the
Imperialists ; but, in spite of this, they continued to press on, and
the gaps made in their ranks, by the well-directed fire of the
Highlanders, were constantly and steadily filled up. The loss was
Mackay's Regiment. 139
not, however, all on the side of the enemy. Many of the defenders
were killed, and a large number wounded.
But after a tune the firing of the Highlanders slackened, and
then suddenly ceased. Their supply of ammunition was exhausted !
The Imperialists surprised at the unexpected silence on the part of
the defenders, instinctively guessed the cause, and redoubling their
efforts made a rush at the walls.* The Highlanders, for a moment,
were at their wits end ; but the energy of despair prompted them.
They tore the sand from the ramparts, and throw it in the eyes of
their assailants as they attempted to scale the walls ; and then
furiously attacking them with the butt ends of their muskets, drove
them from the sconce. But it was a dreadful struggle. At last the
trumpets of the enemy sounded the retreat, the storming party fell
back, the fire of the artillery ceased, and Boitzenburg was saved.
The enemy had again over five hundred men killed, and . a very
large number wounded.
The Highlanders had two officers and forty men killed. The
officers were Captain Learmonth,+ a good and brave soldier, and
his Lieutenant, David Martin, " an old stout and expert officer,"
as Munro describes him ; " while," he adds, " many others carried
the true markes of their valour imprinted in their bodies, for their
The Imperialists finding Boitzenburg so well defended, decided
on crossing the Elbe at another point. This they effected consider-
ably higher up the river, where, coming unexpectedly, they sur-
prised the German guard, and secured a passage across. In the
meantime, the King of Denmark had sent orders to Major Dunbar
to retire from the sconce, bring off his cannon, if he could, and
blow up the bridge. He was then to leave two companies of the
Highlanders at Lauenburg, and retire with the rest to Gluckstadt.
All these orders he carried out in a masterly manner.
This was the first opportunity the Mackay Regiment had of
showing the quality of its men. Gallantly did they distinguish
themselves, and nobly did they fulfil the hazardous task to which
they had been detailed. It was a desperate position to defend,
and looked like certain destruction to all. Their deeds showed
what they were a band of Scottish Inmncibles.^.
* Monro says " There was also a Scottish gentleman under the enemy, who
coming to scale the walls, said aloud, Have with you, gentlemen, thinke not now
you are on the streets of Edinburgh bravading : One of his owne country-men
thrusting him through the body with n pike, he ended there." There were many
Scotsmen in the service of the Imperialists.
t See ante, page 137.
J Gustavus Adolphus, when the Regiment was in his service, spoke of it as
the Scottish Invintibles.
140 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
Munro was with the main division of the Regiment, but he
writes " This Skonce so well maintained by our Countrymen is
to their prayse recorded at length in the Dutch Story of the Danes
Warres, where the curious Eeader may learn more of it. ...
After this service the renowne spread so abroad, where ever we
came, that the Gentrie of the Country were ready meeting us, pro-
viding all necessaries for us. The Duke of Wymar, the Dukes of
Medinburgh, with a number of gallant Ladies, did visit us in our
march, to congratulate with us the good fortune, and good service,
done by our Camerades. But if we should look to the outside of
souldiers, these foure Companies were the meanest of our Eegiment
to the outward appearance . . . For though, as I
said, by appearance to looke but on their outsides, they were the
meanest in show of our whole Regiment ; yet God that gives hearts,
and courage unto men, made them the instruments of our Regiment's
first credit in the warres of Germany. They were, I confesse, led
by brave officers, which were seconded and obeyed by resolute and
stout souldiers, that gained victory and credit, over their enemies,
in extremitie, by casting sand in their eyes . . . shewing
that sometimes the meanest things doe helpe us much against our
enemies, especially when the LORD will blesse our fighting."
The two companies, which were left by Major Dunbar for the
defence of Lauenburg, were speedily besieged. Count Tilly sum-
moned the small garrison to surrender, but Major Wilson, the
officer in command, refused to comply with this demand. The
enemy's batteries then opened fire on the castle, and after a brief
cannonade, Major Wilson, seeing he could not hold his position,
asked for a truce to arrange terms of surrender. This was granted,
and conditions were agreed upon. These were, that the garrison
should march out with bag and baggage, and drums beating, and
that they should have a convoy to conduct them to Gluckstadt.
Count Tilly had been severely wounded during the siege, or pro-
bably he would not have agreed to such terms. Pledges having
been given, the agreement was duly signed, but Major Wilson had
not been careful as to details. On leaving the castle his colours
were taken from him, and on his complaining of what he considered
a breach of faith, he was told to read the agreement. He was then
forced to march to Gluckstadt without colours. For this oversight
he was dismissed from the Regiment with disgrace, and his com-
mand given to Captain Duncan Forbes, one of the officers who had
been cashiered by the King of Denmark. This showed that the
King had committed a great mistake in acting as he did, for Major
Wilson was one of the officers he had appointed over Captains
Mackay's Regiment 141
Learmonth and Forbes, to the annoyance of Sir Donald Mackay,
as already mentioned.
But there was no idle time for the Highlanders. Major Dun-
bar and the four companies were at once ordered to defend the
Castle of Bredenburg, for the enemy had now got a footing in
Holstein, and were over-running the land, while the troops of
King Christian were fast falling back before them. Bredenburg
was the principal stronghold of the Counts of Eantzau, a noble
and warlike family of Holstein ; and Dunbar was instructed that
the castle was not to be surrendered on any condition. A large
number of people had taken refuge in it, when the enemy first
entered the land, and had carried with them a great amount of
treasure. There was also stored in it much valuable property
belonging to Count Kantzau.
The little garrison sent to maintain this important place
numbered only about four hundred men, for Boitzenburg and
Lauenburg had thinned the ranks of the four companies of High-
landers considerably. The castle was but poorly fortified, and the
enemy came so suddenly upon it, that Dunbar had scarcely time
to get the drawbridge pulled up, when Tilly and his forces sur-
rounded the place. A trumpeter was- at once sent by Tilly with
a summons, demanding an instant surrender. This, of course,
Dunbar refused. The enemy immediately began a hot and vigor-
ous siege, which lasted without intermission for six days. The
defenders resisted bravely, and their shot told heavily on the ranks
of the assailants. At length the enemy's guns made two breaches
in the walls, and the Imperialists approached the moat. Tilly then
sent a drummer to the Major to see if he would now surrender, but
the drummer returned with the answer " that so long as there was
blood in Dunbar's head, the place should never be given over." This
answer so incensed Tilly, that he swore when once he got " the
upper hand over them, they should all die without quarter." The
defenders must have been very much exhausted after these six days
of severe exertion, and there was no relief for them, while the
enemy were able to send fresh men to the assault every few hours.
Shortly after Dunbar's answer had been returned, the brave
man was struck on the head by a musket ball, and instantly killed.
But even though he was dead the other officers would not capitu-
late, and the siege went on with renewed fury. Captain Duncan
Forbes was the next officer to fall, then Lieutenant Barbour and
Captain Carmichael. The enemy had now passed the moat, and
getting possession of the castle, a wholesale massacre took place.
All quarter was refused, and every one, without distinction of rank,
142 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
age, or sex, was cruelly put to the sword. With the exception
of Ensign Lumsden, who escaped almost miraculously, every officer
and man of the Highland detachment was either killed while in
the discharge of duty, or savagely butchered. Even their chaplain
was put to death. On his knees he begged for life, but mercy was
denied him. While, of the country people who had taken refuge
in the castle, only a few were able to escape with their lives from
the brutal soldiery. After the slaughter, search was made for
Major Dunbar's body, which, having been found by the Imperialists,
was barbarously mutilated.
The enemy had above a thousand men killed before they took
Munro, who received an account of these proceedings from Ensign
Lumsden, gives a harrowing picture of what took place. " The
whole court and lodgings running with blood, with which walles and
pavements are sprinkled. . . . These cruell murderers did
by their monstrous and prodigious massacre " show no " mercy to
officer, souldier, or Preacher. . . . Was there greater perfidie
in the world than was used here, willingly to harme the dead, and
the innocent ? Eor to wrong an innocent Preacher was savage,
beseeming a beast, not a man ; and to give a stabbe, as was done
here, for the innocent smile of an Infant, was devillish blacke at
the heart. . . . And I perswade my selfe, none but villanous
persons, being Commanders, ever suffered the like to have been
done without moderation."
This terrible disaster left only the seven companies of the
Regiment, with which, as I have already mentioned, Sir Donald
had been ordered to march from Boitzenburg to Ruppin. At
Ruppin, instructions were given by General Slamersdorff, who then
commanded the King of Denmark's forces in that district, that
after resting for eight days, the march was to be continued into
Silesia, to join the Danish army in that territory. Within a week,
however, the startling intelligence was received, that the Danish
army in Silesia had been totally defeated, that the victors had
pushed rapidly on and crossed the Elbe, and that their troops
occupied all the passes leading into Holstein. To retreat by land
and join the king's army was thus impossible, and as the Regiment
could not remain where it was, orders were given to make for the
island of Poe], near Wismar, on the Baltic, and wait there till
shipping could be provided to carry them to Holstein.
General Slamersdorff had appointed Perleburg, a small town on
the Stepnitz, as the rendezvous for the remnants of the defeated
army, and thither they marched with all haste. When mustered,
Mackay's Regiment 143
they numbered about ten thousand men of all arms. The General
seems to have been very much frightened, for he marched the
troops night and day until they got to Wismar, being naturally
afraid that the enemy might get between him and the sea. The
troops encamped about a mile from Wismar, and opposite the
island of Poel. They made a drawbridge to the island, and forti-
fied it with sconces and redoubts. It was harvest time, and being
uncertain how long they might have to remain, they conveyed pro-
visions and stores to the island, sufficient to last them all winter,
should they be kept there so long. But they only remained five
weeks. Munro says, that during this time they had " abundance
of flesh and drinke " but were slightly provided of bread and salt
a Souldier had but one pound of bread allowed him in
ten dayes, if that he tooke it not off the field ; " that is, unless he
went to the field and gathered there wheat or rye. The High-
landers, he further adds, called their encampment "the flesh
Leager, and justly, for the Souldiers were so cloyed with flesh, that
Oxen flesh was let lie on the ground, the Hides taken off by the
Souldiers and sold for a Can of Beere a Hide, the whole body left
on the place untouched." Our countrymen, also, seemed to con-
sider the sheep's head and trotters quite as favourite a dish then,
as many do at the present time, for it is recorded of the soldiers,
that at last they got " weary of mutton also, eating only the heads
and feet, being boyld with wheat brought off the fields." One of
the results of eating so much animal food without bread or salt,
was the breaking out of a serious pestilence in the camp, of which
many soldiers died ; " but of our nation fewest, for to speake
truth," I again quote from Munro, " I never did see more durable
men against all Toyle, travelle and tediousnesse, than they were."
The people of Wismar behaved very discourteously to the officers
and men of the defeated army, even the merchants being unwilling
to sell them such articles as they desired to purchase. " Likewise
I did observe first here," Munro further adds, " that the Townes of
Germanic are best friends ever to the masters of the field, in flat-
tering the victorious, and in persecuting the loser, which is ever well
scene in all estates."
At last arrangements were completed for transporting the army
to Holstein. Ships arrived from Copenhagen, and the embarkation
at once took place. General Slamersdorff was left with two
thousand men to defend the island, while the Duke of Saxe-
Weimar, with eight thousand horse and foot, sailed for Heilegen-
haven, where the whole force was safely landed. The Highlanders
were included in the eight thousand.
144 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
Immediately after landing, orders were given to march to
Oldenburg, where it was hoped the Danish forces, if united with
the eight thousand just landed, might be able to defeat Count
Tilly, who was known to be advancing with an immense army, for
the purpose of overrunning Holstein. The Pass of Oldenburg,
through which the invading army must of necessity come, had, by
some strange overlook on the part of the Danish generals, been
left unfortified. The Highlanders, on arriving at the Pass, imme-
diately set to work to make trenches, so as to secure it against the
enemy. They worked all night, and next day till noon, when they
discovered the Imperialists advancing in formidable numbers of
horse and foot. Before three o'clock in the afternoon the latter
had planted their 'cannon, and the Danish general being informed
of this, orders were given to double the guards, barricade the pass ;
and, during the night, cast up a redoubt before it.
By day light the next morning the battle began the enemy
trying to force the pass, the Danish army to keep it. The fighting
was mainly confined to the cavalry. At last the Danish soldiers
began to give way, when the General commanded Sir Donald, " in
all haste . . to march with the halfe of his Regiment to main-
taine the passe." The General asked the Highlanders, as Sir
Donald was leading them on, if they went on with courage. This
being interpreted to the men, they, " shouting for joy, cast off their
hats, rejoicing in their march, seeming glad of the occasion." Then,
commending their courage and resolution, the General blessed them,
and passed on. As the Highlanders advanced, the enemy's cannon
played continuously upon them, and their colours were torn in
pieces. Lieutenant Hugh Eoss was the first that felt the smart of
the cannon ball. He was shot in the leg, and falling, called out
courageously, " Go on bravely, comrades, I wish I had a Treene
(i.e. a wooden leg) for your sakes." As they drew near the Pass,
the Germans [Holsteineers] that were on service had all fled except
their Captain. The Pass was thus nearly lost ; but Sir Donald
hurried an officer forward with a platoon of musketeers, " mostly
young gentlemen of his own company," with directions to maintain
the Pass, which they did ; " but being hard pressed, many of them
died in defence of it."
The others were not idle, and a hot engagement took place. The
pikemeu had to stand " for two howers in battell under mercy of
Cannon and musket, so that their sufferings and hurts were greater
both amongst officers and souldiers than the hurt done to the Mus-
ketiers, for few of their officers escaped unhurt, and divers also were
killed." During the engagement, a barrel of gunpowder "was
Mackay's Regiment 145
blowne up, whereby," Sir Donald, " was burnt in tbe face, and
many souldiers spoiled." The enemy, having seen the explosion of
gunpowder, again tried to force the passage ; but Iheir efforts were
in vain, ami they had to retire. The first division of the Regiment
had been fighting upwards of two hours, when the second division
came up, " who falling on fresh, with man-like courage, the other
division" fell " off to refresh themselves."
The engagement continued for some time with unabated vigour;
but after mid-day the Regiment was enabled to keep the pass " by
companies, one company relieving another till night, that it grew
darke, and then darknesse, the enemy of Valour, made the service
to cease." This engagement lasted from seven o'clock in the morn-
ing till about four o'clock in the afternoon. The Imperialists cer-
tainly got a check ; and by the indomitable pluck of the High-
landers, the Danish army was saved for that day, and an opportunity
afforded the Generals to decide on future action. But it was a sad
struggle for our brave countrymen ; for in the unequal contest they
had three officers and about four hundred men killed, and thirteen
officers wounded.* The officers killed were Andrew Munro,
Farquhar Munro, and Murdoch Poison. Among the wounded were
Sir Donald Mackay, Lieutenant-Colonel Alexander Seton, Captain
Sir Patrick Mackay, Captain John Forbes of Tulloch, and Munro,
the author of the Expedition.
Such a service might have been considered most ample work for
any one regiment to have accomplished in a single day, but there
was yet more work in store for the Highlanders they had again to
guard the Pass. The General, apparently out of his whole army,
had no other regiment he could trust for this important duty.
Munro says, the Duke of Weimar, after paying a high compli-
ment to Sir Donald and his Regiment, requested "him that, as the
Regiment had done bravely all day, in being the instruments under
God of his safety, and of the armies, he would once more request
that his Regiment might hold out the inch as they had done the
span, till it was darke, and then they should be relieved, as he was
The Duke faithfully kept his promise. That night the Council
of "War decided that it would be hopeless to attempt to stand
* One of the officers wounded, an Ensign, " being shot throush the body
above the left pappe, went a little aside till he was drest, and returned again to
his station, keeping his colours in his hand, till night, before the enemy, never
fainting with his wound, an example of rare courage, and of great strength of
bodie, neither did he ever thereafter keepe bed or lodging one hour, more than
ordinary, for all this hurt." Munro,
146 Gaelic Society of Inverness,
against Tilly's overwhelming forces. It was therefore resolved that
the army should retire with all speed to Heiligenhaven, get on board
the ships lying there, and sail for Denmark. The Duke remembered
his promise to Sir Donald, and insisted that, as the Highlanders
had behaved so heroically, they should have some special mark of
favour. It was accordingly arranged that they, as they " deserved
best," should be " first brought off, getting orders to march in the
night to ships." Munro writes regarding this as follows : " Here
also I found that a friend in need was better than gold, for had not
the Duke of Wymar beene our friend, we had bin left behinde at
the passe, and beene prisoners the next day with the rest of the
Army. . . . Likewise, I have found by experience that those
who fight best in occasions, have ever the best of it, though they
chance to suffer loss ; if it come to a retreat, commonly they are
most respected and come first off, as we did at this time, and it is
ever better to fight well, and to retire timely, than for a man to suf-
fer himselfe to be taken prisoner, as many were that morning after
When all was quiet, the retreat began. The General, accom-
panied by Sir Donald, was the first to leave. Then the Highlanders
followed it having been arranged that they should embark before
any of the other troops. It was a moonlight night in October, and
at ten o'clock they reached Heiligenhaven, and drew up on the
shore. There, it had been arranged, they were to wait for Sir
Donald, whose object in leaving in advance of his Regiment was
that he might procure shipping for their transport. He had gone
out to the roadstead for this purpose ; but there was quite a panic
among the mariners, and he could not get any one to obey him.
Munro's statement is that they had been alarmed by the incessant
firing which they had heard during the day, and " feare so possest
them all that they lacked hands to worke and hearts to obey," and
Sir Donald had to return without being able to induce the masters
of any of the ships to bring their vessels near to the shore to receive
What had been intended to be a quiet and orderly retreat, had
become a hurried and pell-mell rout ; for when it was knowu that
the Highlanders had left the Pass, the rest of the army, horse and
foot, made a rush from the camp to the seaboard ; and ere long the
cavalry came galloping down to the water's edge in the greatest dis-
order. There was no head to direct, and everything was in confu-
sion. The officers had lost all control over their men, and discipline
was at an end. The number of fugitives rapidly increased, and soon
men and horses, pioneers, musketeers, and pikemen, baggage and
Mackay's Regiment 147
ammunition, were crowded in an unwieldy and unmanageable
mass on the pier and shore.
Sir Donald realised the gravity of the situation, and resolved
upon a plan by means of which the remains of his Eegiment might
be brought off with safety. The enemy was known to be in pur-
suit, and there was not a moment to be lost. He must either
embark his men at once, make a desperate but useless stand against
the enemy, to " die with back to the water and face to the foe,"
or surrender with the broken Danish army to Count Tilly. The
runaway cavalry (which consisted chiefly of German levies in the
Danish service), had crowded the long mole or pier, and were in
the act of seizing the shipping for the conveyance of themselves
and their horses. Sir Donald saw he had only one chance, and
ordered his Highlanders to clear the pier of these horsemen. " Pike-
men to the front ! " he cried ; and we are told that formed in line,
eight ranks deep, the whole breadth of the mole, the Highlanders,
pikemen in front and musketeers in the rear, steadily advanced,
and charging the horsemen, forced them over the shelving edges
of the pier into the water. But the channel fortunately was
shallow, so they escaped drowning. The Highlanders seized upon
a ship, and after placing their colours and a number of men on
board, had it moved a little from the shore to prevent its getting
aground. This accomplished, the ship's boat was manned with
an officer and some musketeers, who were " sent to force other
ships out of the Roade " into their service, and thus a sufficient
number of vessels being secured, the Eegiment was at last safely
embarked. All, except some villains, as Munro calls them, who had
" gone a plundering in the Towne, but not knowing the danger
they were in/' stayed away all night, and were taken next morn-
ing by the enemy. It was hard work getting the men shipped.
Some of the officers toiled all night ferrying the sick and wounded
from the shore, and the last boatful was just leaving when the
Imperialists entered Heiligenhaven. It was such a narrow escape
that Captain Robert Munro's boat was beaten from the shore by
the enemy's horsemen. Among the many incidents recorded,
Munro mentions the following : " A Gentleman borne in the
Isles of Scotland, called Alexander Mac-Worche, being wounded
in the head, and shot in the arme, the enemies Horsemen shooting
at him with Pistols, he leapes from the shoare, with his cloathes
on, notwithstanding those wounds, and swimmes to my Cosen
Captaine Monro his boate, and being brought in, died the next
day, and was much lamented for of his Camera des, as a Gentleman
of great hope." The baggage of the Highlanders and the horses
of their mounted officers had all to be left behind.
1 48 Gaelic Society of In verness.
Tilly's army had now possession of Heiligenhaven ; and the
Highlanders from on board their ships witnessed the surrender of
the Duke of Weimar's army to the Imperialists. They gave them-
selves up without striking a blow ! The German horsemen, whom
the Highlanders had driven from the pier, were mercenaries, and
nothing more, for they at once took service under Tilly, being
" quite ready to fight to-morrow the Master they had sworn to
defend to-day." Munro very quaintly describes the scene. He
says We saw " the enemies Army drawne up in battell, horse,
foote and cannon, and " the routed Danish " Army of foote and
horse opposite unto them : I did see six and thirty Cornets of
horse being full troupes without loosing of one Pistoll give them-
selves prisoners in the enemies mercy, whereof the most part took
service. As also I did see five Regiments of Foote, being forty
Colours,* follow their examples, rendering themselves and their
Colours without l:osing of one musket." Of the whole of the
Duke of Weimar's army, the Mackay Regiment alone escaped.
The loss of his army was not the only misfortune that this
stroke of ill-luck brought to the King of Denmark. The provinces
of Holstein and Jutland were also lost, and from that day till
the siege of Stralsuud, his whole military operations were, with a
few exceptions, little more than a series of flights. For a time
the Austrian Eagle spread its wings over the mainland of Denmark,
from the Elbe to the Skager Rack, and the Danish Islands alone
remained under the sway of King Christian.
Sir DonaM, on leaving Heiligenhaven with his Highlanders,
sailed for Flensborg, to report what had taken place to the King,
and receive further orders from His Majesty. The King was much
grieved on learning the heavy loss his forces had sustained ; but
seeing he could not then again enter the field against the Imperi-
alists, he prudently resolved to act upon the defensive, till he
could organise another army for active operations. In the mean-
time he directed Sir Donald to proceed to Assens, in the Island of
Funen, and there the Highlanders landed. It was only a year
since they had left Scotland, and six months since they had entered
on active service, but the struggles they had been engaged in had
been of so sanguinary a character, that already the Regiment was
reduced to less than half the number which embarked at Cromarty
on the 10th of October, 1626. "We landed at Assens of our
Regiment," says Munro, " eight hundred souldiers besides one
hundred and fifty wounded and sicke men, and being put in good
* Each company in those days carried a colour.
Mackay's Regiment. 149
quarters, we rest us, leaving the enemy to rest in the fat land of
Holaten and YewtUind, having a good broad and deep fossey (the
sea) betwixt us, we were by Gods mercy secured."
The King of Denmark had also gone to Assens, and after Sir
.Donald had consulted with his Majesty, it was arranged that two
companies of the Regiment were to remain there, while the rest
should he quartered in the neighbouring villages. A comfortable
and convenient hotel, or country house, was also provided for " the
wounded and sicko men, where they were to be entertained together
till they were cured, and his Majestic graciously ordained skilfull
Chirurgians, diligently to attend them, being an hundred and fiftie,
It was after getting to Assens that news reached them of the
gallant defence of Bredenburg, and the massacre of the garrison.
The news filled every one with the deepest sorrow.
The heavy losses the Regiment had sustained now became
mat'.er for serious consideration. Sir Donald called the officers to-
gether for consultation, and the result of their deliberation was that
he entered into a new agreement with the King for a further prose-
cution of the cause in which they had embarked, and at once made
preparations to go to Scotland lor the purpose of bringing over a
thousand men to recruit the Regiment. Officers from each company,
it was arranged, were to go with him, and in most cases the captains
were selected, leaving the command of their respective companies
during their absence to their lieutenants. By taking these officers
with him, Sir Donald expected to recruit with greater expedition
than if he had gone alone.
Captain Robert Munro (the author of the Expedition) having
done duty as major for some time, was, on the news of the death of
Major Dunbar, appointed by his " Colonel's respect and his Majes-
ties favour," major of the Regiment ; or, as the rank was then de-
signated, sergeant-major, an office almost precisely similar to that of
adjutant of the present day. Munro's account of his instalment is
interesting, as the description of a bygone military ceremony.
" Orders were given unto the Commissary that mustered us, accord-
ing to my Patent [or Commission] to place me as sergeant-major
over the Regiment, which all duely obeyed by the Commissary, the
Drummer Major, accompanied with the rest of the drummers of the
Regiment, being commanded, beate a bancke in head oi the Regiment.
The Commissary having his Majesties Patent in his hand [the Com-
mission was signed by the King], makes a speech, signifying his
Majesties will unto all the officers of the Regiment, and without
any contradiction placed me Sergeant-major, and delivering me my
150 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
Patent takes me by the hand, as the Colonell did, Lievetenant-
Colonell with the whole officers of the Kegiment, wishing me joy,
with the general! applause of the whole Soldateska, which ceremony
ended, the Kegiment marched off, by companies unto their severall
quarters as before."
The officers that accompanied Sir Donald Mackay to Scotland,
were Captains Sir Patrick Mackay, John Munro of Obisdell, John
Munro (commonly called Assynt Munro), Sinclair, Forbes, and
Annan, and Lieutenant Robert Stewart. Major Munro was left
in command of the Eegiment, as Lieutenant-Colonel Seton had
gone to Holland on leave.
Before returning to Denmark, Sir Donald Mackay went to
London for a short time, and on the 19th February. 1628, the
King advanced him to the dignity of the peerage, under the title
of LORD EBAY, by patent to him and his heirs male for ever, bear-
ing the name and arms of Mackay.
During his absence, the Regiment had hot work on several
occasions. He left for Scotland in October, and in November
Major Munro was ordered to proceed with four companies to the
Island of Laaland, to keep the Imperialists in check, as they had
crossed the Belt and laid the Island of Femern under contribution.
Some months later (22nd March, 1628), the King also landed in
Laaland with 2500 foot, being resolved to drive the enemy from
Femern, as he was afraid, if they were left undisturbed there, they
might get possession of some of the other Islands. On the 6th of
April the expedition sailed, and on the 8th landed at Femern.
After a short resistance, the Imperialist garrison surrendered uncon-
ditionally, and leaving their arms, baggage, and ammunition, were
sent away in boats to Holstein. After resting three days, during
which time the King appointed a Governor, and told off a garrison
for the protection of the Island, a second expedition was agreed
upon. On the llth of April, the ships again set sail, and kept
along the coast of Holstein till they came to Eckernfiord, where
there was a garrison of the Imperialists. Here the troops landed,
the King remaining on board ship to watch proceedings. The
force consisted of close upon 2000 men, English, Scots, Dutch,
and French, in about equal numbers. It was agreed to cast lots
as to which should lead the attack, and the lot fell on the High-
landers, the English corning next. The town was taken and
plundered, but there was some hard righting and considerable
loss. Before the attack began, Mr. William Forbes, the preacher
to the Regiment, wished the Highlanders success " in the name of
the Lord." Part of the defenders retired to the church, which
Mackay's Regiment 151
they barricaded, and shooting out of it did great damage to the
attacking party. On the church being forced, it was discovered
that the defenders had retired for safety to a detached gallery ; but,
before doing so, they had laid a train of gunpowder over the floor, for
the destruction of the building, when the invaders entered it.
Major Munro, on noticing this, had barely time to warn his men
of their danger, when an explosion took place, by which about one
hundred were killed. The Highland soldiers not having forgotten
the enemy's cruelty to their comrades at Bredenburg, then resolved
to give no quarter, and about two hundred and fifjty of the enemy
were destroyed. Several of Mackay's officers were wounded, among
others, Captain Mackenzie, who " was favourably shot in the legge,"
and Lieutenant David Munro, who was " pitifully burnt."
The chaplain, " Master William Forbesse," is described by
Munro as " a Preacher for Souldiers, yea and a Captaine in neede,
to lead Souldiers on a good occasion, being full of courage and
discretion and good conduct, beyond some Captaines I have
knowne, who were not so capable as he. At this time, he not
onely prayed for us, but went on with us, to remarke, as I thinke,
rnens carriage, and having found a Sergeant neglecting his dutie,
and his honour at such a time, did promise to reveal him unto me,
as he did after their service ; the Sergeant being called before me,
and accused, did deny his accusation, alleaging that if he were no
Pastour that had alleaged it, he would not lie under the injury, the
Preacher offered to fight with him, that it was truth he had spoken
of him, whereupon I cashier'd the Sergeant. . . . The Sergeant
being cashier'd never call'd Master William to account, for which
he was evill thought of, so that he retired home, and quit the
Munro very ingenuously gives three excuses for pursuing men
who had " retired to a Church being a place of refuge." First,
our orders " were to beate our enemies, in taking them prisoners,
or by killing them, which we could not effect, . . . without
entering the Church." " Secondly. They having banished the
Gospell, and the Preachers of it out of the Church, we had good
reason to banish them, who had made of the house of God a Denne
of theeves and murtherers, as they were at Bredenburg having
killed our Camerades, and massacred our Preacher being on his
knees begging mercy, and could find none. Thirdly. They
treacherously retired themselves to a Loft apart in the Church, for
their own safeties, and left trains of Powder to blow us up at our
entry, which made our Compassion towards them the Colder ; "
and then he adds, however, " I refused not to shew compassion
152 Gaelic Society of Inverness
on those who did beg it of me, and what others did in their fury,
I did tolerate, not being pawerfull to hinder them." Truly war
is a cruel teacher, when it can justify such excesses, even as acts
Having returned to their ships, the King directed that they
should next sail along the coast till they came to Kiel. Here a
landing was attempted ; but the preparations made by the Imperi-
alist leader, defeated the attempt to take the town, and the greater
number of the men detailed for this purpose were killed. The attack-
ing party was led by an English officer, who displayed great bravery.
He got off, but died of his wounds the following day. Thirty
Highlanders were among the number which landed ; and of these
twenty-two were killed ; the remaining eight were wounded, but
escaped by swimming to the King's ship, into which they were
taken. Munro remarks " Here also our Scottisfi High-land-men
are prayse worthy, who for lacke of Boats, made use of their vertue
and courage in swimming the Seas, notwithstanding of their wounds,
with their cloathe?, shewing their Masters they were not the first
came off, but with the last ; following the example of their leader,
they would not stay to be Prisoners, as many doe at such times, and
never returne." After this disappointment and repulse, the ships
returned to Femern. An attempt was made shortly alterwards to
establish a footing in Holstein, but also failed ; and orders were
then given to sail back to Laaland.
But another great struggle was at hand. Tidings were brought
to King Christian that Stralsund, one of the free cities of the
Hanseatic League had been besieged by the Imperialists, under
Marshal Arnheim. It had remained neutral during the war,
pursuing those habits of peaceful industry which had secured it
so many privileges from the Dukes of Pomerania ; but its noble
harbour, and its vicinity to the coasts of Sweden and Denmark,
made its possession of great importance to the conqueror. Walleu-
stein, then the generalissimo of the Emperor, had declared he
would sweep the shores, and also the waters of the Baltic ; and in
pursuance of this plan resolved to seize Stralsund. He sent an
officer requesting the burghers to receive an Imperial garrison,
which they declined ; he then asked for permission to march his
army through the city, but the burgomaster was too wary, and this
also was refused ; then the gates were closed, and cannon loaded
the city stood upon its defence, and Marshal Arnheim was com-
manded to begin the siege at once. The burghers of Stralsund
thereupon sent a message to the King of Denmark, humbly begying
for his assistance. This, he at once promised, for he knew if
Mackay's Regiment 153
Stralsund fell into the hands of the Imperialists, the free naviga-
tion of the Baltic would be lost, and the Danish islands, as it
were, at the mercy of the conqueror. He selected Lord Reay's
Regiment for the hazardous duty, " having had sufficient proof of
its former service ... so that hefore others they were trusted
on this occasion." Orders were given that they should at once pro-
ceed to Stralsund. Lieutenant-Colonel Seton having returned
from Holland, was instructed to take shipping direct from Funen,
with the three companies which had been left in that island ;
while the four companies which were stationed in Laaland were to
march to Elsinore and embark there. Lieutenant-Colonel Seton
with the three companies must have entered Stralsund on the 24th
or 25th of May ; for Munro, who arrived with the other four
companies on the 28th, says, we were " no sooner drawne up in the
Market place, but presently we were sent to watch at Franckendore,
to relieve the other Division, that had watched three days and three
nights together uncome off, that being the weakest part of the
whole Towne, and the onely poste pursued by the enemy, which our
Lievetenant-Colonell made choice of, being the most dangerous, for
his Countries credit."
For the space of six weeks their duty in defending the town
was hard and unremitting. During this time, " neither officer nor
Souldier was suffered to come off his watch, neither to diue or
suppe, but their ineate was carried unto them, to their poste."
And Munro says, that in these six weeks his " clothes came never
off, except it had been to change a suite or linniiigs" [linens].
The town's people too, were very surly and inhospitable, or as
Munro expresses it, " ungratefull and unthankful! ; " and this
added considerably to the discomfort of the soldiers.
Day after day, and night after night, the Highlanders were
kept at their posts without any respite. They had to keep double
watch, and their position was being constantly assailed by the
enemy. The Franken-gate, which was their especial charge, was at
the weakest part of the city wall, and the enemy, as a matter of
course, directed most of their efforts to carry that point. Attempts
were made by the Highlanders to strengthen their position ; but
they had to work, so to speak, with spade in one hand, and pike or
musket in the other, for the Imperialists were constantly on the
alert to attack them at any moment. Many of the defenders were
killed, and many more wounded. " When cannons are ro iring and
bullets flying, he that would have honour must not feare dying :
many rose in the morning, went not to bed at night, and many
supped at night, sought no breakfast ia the morning." So
154 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
writes Munro, and then he adds, " some had their heads separated
from their bodies by the Cannon, as happened to one Lievetenant
and thirteene Souldiers, that had their fourteene heads shot from
them by one Cannon bullet at once. Who doubts of this, he may
go and see the reliques of their braines to this day [1636, about
eight years after the siege], sticking on the walles, under the
Port of Franckendore in Trailesound"
"Wallenstein was so annoyed that the siege should last so long,
that on the 26th of June he arrived in the camp for the purpose
of conducting the operations himself. He examined the walls,
and swore he would " take the place in three nights, though it were
hanging with Iron chaines, betwixt the earth and the heavens."
" But," as the historian writes, " forgetting to take God on his side,
he was disappointed by him who disposeth of all things."
Between ten and eleven o'clock that night the assault was made,
and the post guarded by Mackay's Eegiment, being, as I have
already mentioned, the weakest, the enemy's efforts were directed
chiefly against it. But it was known that Wallenstein was in
camp, and the Highlanders were prepared for a more than ordinary
attack on their position. The sentries were doubled, and posts
strengthened ; and when the enemy advanced, " above a thousand
strong, with a shoute, sa sa, sa sa, sa sa /" the sentry gave fire,
the defenders were at once called to arms, and after a severe struggle
of an hour and a half, the assailants were repulsed. But they had
reliefs at hand, and were at once succeeded by a storming party of
equal number, and these again by others, and so on until morning,
when day breaking, a last and desperate effort was made to force the
gate. They got within the outworks, but were beaten ' ' backe againe
with greate losse, with swords and pikes and butts of muskets, so
that " they were " forced to retire, having lost above a thousand
men," while the Highlanders lost " neare two hundred, besides
those who were hurt." The moat was filled with the dead bodies of
the enemy up to the banks. The works were ruined and could
not be repaired, "which caused the next night's watch to be the
The defence was conducted by Major Munro, who was severely
wounded ; and he tells us that, " during the time of this hot con-
flict, none that was whole went off at the coming of the reliefe, but
continued in the fight assisting their Camerades, so long as their
strength served." He remained till " wearied and growne stiff with"
his wounds, he was assisted off. The number of Highland officers
killed and wounded was very heavy.
The Regiment was badly treated. They asked for assistance,
Mackay's Regiment. 155
but although, nearly all the force of the enemy was directed against
their position, no support was sent them. But just before the last
assault was made, Colonel Fritz, who had recently arrived in Stral-
sund from Sweden, went to the help of the Highlanders " with
foure score musketiers." Colonel Fritz was killed, and also his
Major, who was named Semple ; and his Lieutenant-Colonel,
MacDougall, was taken prisoner, and was missing for six months.
It is reported of WaUenstein, that he was so eager to get into
the town, that, when his wounded officers retired, he ordered them
to be shot, branding them as cowards for leaving their places so
long as they could stand.
Munro very drily remarks on the shouts, " Sa sa, sa sa, sa sa ! "
made by the Imperialists, when entering on an engagement
" Shouting like Turkes, as if crying would terrific resolute Souldiers :
No truely . . . seeing we were more overjoyed by their coming
than any wise terrified ; and we received them with Yolees of
Cannon and Musket in their teeth, which faire and wellcome was
hard of digestion unto some of them. . . . True courage con-
sists not in words . . . but in the strength of the Valiant
Arme, and not in the Tongue. ... It may well be said of
them as the Proverbe is that the dogges did barke more than they
The following day Lieut. -Colonel Seton visited the wounded
Major at his lodgings, and gave him particulars of the loss the
Regiment had sustained. So few men were left that were really
fit for service, that Munro advised that they should all be put into
the Colonel's company, so as to form one strong company, in the
meantime, and when the recruits came from Scotland, the com-
panies should then be formed anew.* When night came, the
* The second sight had not quite died out in those days, for Munro adds, in
connection with the visit made to him by Lieut. -Colonel Seton : "To make my
Lievetenant-Colonell laugh, I did tell him a story of a vision, that was scene by a
Souldier of the Colonell's company, that morning before the enemy did storme,
being a predictive dreame, and a true. One Murdo Mac-claude borne in Assen,
a Souldier of a tall stature, and valiant courage, being sleeping on his watch,
awakened by the breake of day, and jogges two of his Camerades lying by him,
who did finde much fault with him for sturring of them, he replied, before long
you shall be otherwise starred, a Souldier called Allen Tough a Loghaber-man,
recommending his soule to -God, asked him what he had seene, who answered him,
you shall never see your country againe, the other replied, the losse was but small
if the rest of the company were well, he answered no, for there was great hurt
and death of many very neere, the other asked againe, whom had he seene more
that would dye besides him, sundry of his Camerades he tould by name, that
should be killed : the other asked what would become of himselfe, he answered, he
would be killed with the rest : in effect, he describeth the whole Officers by their
cloathea that should be hurt : a pretty quicke boy neere by asked him, what
156 Gaelic Society of In verness.
enemy made another furious assault, and the Highlanders had for a
time to abandon their (outworks and retire to the ravelin ; but as
soon as the morning light shone, led by their officers, and armed
some " with corslets, head-pieces, with halt-pikes, morgan sternes,
and swords," they rushed out " Pell mell amongst the enemies,
and chased them quite out of the workes againe, and retiring with
credit, maintained still the Triangle or Eaveline." The loss of life
was again great on both sides.
Wallenstein finding he could not take the city so easily as he
imagined, sent a trumpeter to know if the defenders would treat
with him upon terms. Lieut-Colonel Seton (in the absence of
Colonel Holke, the governor of the city), was glad of the offer, and
an armistice of fourteen days was agreed upon to draw up the terms
of a treaty, and to give time to ascertain the King of Denmark's
views on the subject. The treaty was just ready for signature when
orders came to Lieut.-Colonel Seton not to sign it, as troops were in
readiness to come with all haste for his relief. " Whereupon my
Lord ^pynie, a Scots Noble man, with his Regiment, with sufficient
provision of money and Ammunition, were sent unto the Towne,
and being entered the treaty was rejected, and made voide."
Shortly after this an arrangement was entered into by the Kings
of Denmark and Sweden, by which the defence of Stralsund was
undertaken by the latter. Sir Alexander Leslie, " an expert and
valorous Scots commander," was appointed governor,t with some
Swedish troops ; and the forces employed by the King of Denmark
were ordered to be withdrawn from, the garrison, and Swedish
troops employed in their place.
Leslie had no sooner taken the command than he resolved to
attack the besiegers, and drive them from their works. Desirous
of conferring " credit on his owne Nation alone," he " made choice
of Spunia's Kegirnent, being their first service to make the outfall,"
would become of the Major, meaning me, he answered, he wou'd he shot, but
not deadly, and tlut the boy should be next unto me, when I were hurt, as he
t Munro enlarges in glowing terms on the special blessings bestowed on the
Stralsunders in having obtained a Scotsman for their ruler: "And what a
blessing it was to a Towne perplexed, as this was, to get a good, wise, vertuous
and valiant Governour in time of their greatest trouble, wh ch .-hewes that we
are govarn'd by a power above us." And then waxing more eloquent on the
good fortune of the city, and the merits of his countrymen, he adds, " It faring
then with Trai/esound, as with Sara ; she became fruitfull when she could not
believe it, and they become flourishing having gotten a Scots Governour to protect
them, whom they looked not for, which was a good omen unto them, to get a
Governour of the Nation, that was never conquered, which made them the onely
Towne in Germany free, as yet, from the Emperiall yoke, by the valour of our
Nation, that defended their City in their greatest danger."
Mackay's Regiment 157
and " the remainder of Mackay's Regiment to second them for mak-
ing good of their retreate." They fell upon the enemy's works,
forced them to retire, and drove them back to the main body of
their army. But overpowered by numbers, they, in their turn,
were obliged " to retire with the losse of some brave Cavaliers."
To make their retreat good, Captain Mackenzie advanced " with the
old Scottish blades" of Mackay's Regiment. He succeeded in driv-
ing off the enemy, and then covering Spynie's men, till they had
arrived within their own works, he, still lacing the foe, gradually
retired to his own position. But the loss of the Highlanders was
again considerable, for they had thirty men killed.
Immediately after resigning the protection of Stralsund to
Sweden, the King of Denmark made an attempt to secure for him-
self the province of Pomerania, then held by the Imperialists. For
this purpose he left Denmark with a force of cavalry and infantry,
with which he landed at Wolgast. He then recalled Mackay's and
Spynie's Regiments from Stralsund ; and the remains of these two
Scottish corps reached Wolgast about the end of July. The King
immediately prepared to attack the Imperialists, but he was no
match for them. They destroyed the greater part of his army with-
out even coming to any regular engagement ; and then pressing him
hard, forced him to retire, in great haste and confusion, until he was
again within the town of Wolgast. Here finding he was in danger
of being taken prisoner, he put all the Scottish troops under com-
mand of Captain Mackenzie of Mackay's Regiment, who was ordered
to skirmish with the enemy till the King had passed the bridge ;
and then, with his Highlanders, he was to retire, and set the bridge
on fire, "which the Captaine did orderly obey," says Munro,
" doing his Majestic the best service was done him in the whole
time of the warres, not without great danger of the Captaine, and
his followers, where the Bridge once burning, he was then the
happiest man that could first be shipped."
The King immediately embarked for Denmark with the re-
mainder of his forces. They arrived at Copenhagen on the 9th
of August, and were met by Lord Reay, who had just returned
from Scotland, with about a thousand recruits for his Regiment.
I may here mention that the Highlanders had no further share
in the defence of Stralsuud. An idea of the hard work they had,
may, however, be inferred from the fact that upwards of five
hundred of them were killed during the short time they were
engaged in defending that city. The siege lasted four months in
all, and cost the Imperialists upwards of twelve thousand of their
best soldiers. But notwithstanding this immense sacrifice, they
158 Gaelic Society of Inverness,
were compelled to retire, after spiking their cannon, destroying
their baggage, and setting fire to their camp, so as to prevent any
booty falling into the hands of the gallant defenders.
At Copenhagen, Lord Eeay immediately set to work to re-
organize his Eegiment. So few, however, of the band survived
which had sailed from Cromarty on the 10th of October, 1626,
that the task was like forming a new regiment altogether. Munro
says, that when the survivors left Stralsund of " both officers and
souldiers I doe not think one hundred were free of wounds, re-
ceived honourably in defence of the good cause." The record is
almost without a parallel in history.
Two companies sent over by Colonel Sinclair (of which one was
a Welsh Company, commanded by Captain Trafford), were joined
to the Eegiment ; and Lieutenant-Colonel Seton having retired,
Major Munro was appointed Lieutenant-Colonel in his place. When
completed and mustered, the new Eegiment numbered fourteen
hundred men, besides officers.
Shortly after his return to Denmark, the King decided on
raising another army, either " to beate the enemy out of Hoist en,
or otherwise with his sword in his hand, make an honourable peace."
Having made all the preliminary arrangements for the campaign,
which, it was intended, should open in the following spring, the
King ordered the army into winter quarters.
In April the troops were brought together, and plans prepared
for a descent on Holstein. The different companies of Lord Eeay's
Eegiment, which had been quartered in various places during
winter, assembled at Enge, where, it was proposed, hostilities should
begin. There was every indication that a fierce and terrible struggle
was at hand ; but before again drawing the sword, the King de-
cided on trying to arrange a treaty of peace with the Emperor of
Austria. In this he succeeded. The preliminaries were agreed
upon in May, and in August the treaty was signed. Holstein and
Jutland were restored to the King, and the conditions imposed upon
him were that he should not interfere in the affairs of Germany
further than he was entitled to do as Count of Holstein ; that on
no pretext was he to enter the circles of Lower Germany ; that he
was to leave the Elector Palatine to his fate ; and that the Scottish
troops in his service were to quit it forthwith.
" Thus by a strange combination of misfortunes, was the most
gallant of the Danish monarchs compelled to retire ingloriously
from the great arena of the German war."
The service of Mackay's Eegiment was now ended in Denmark.
The King settled liberally and honourably with Lieuteannt-Colonel
Mackay's Regiment 159
Munro (in the absence of Lord Eeay, who had again returned to
Britain) ; and then graciously dismissed the Regiment, "in whom
the least omission could never be found, much lesse to have com-
mitted any grosse errour worthe imputation." Orders were given
to provide shipping to convey officers and men to Scotland, and
" till the shipps were ready to saile," they were to be furnished
with free quarters at Elsinore.
But the Regiment did not return to Scotland. The war between
Denmark and Austria certainly was ended, but the great struggle
had little more than begun.
THE SERVICE OF THE REGIMENT UNDER GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS,
KING OF SWEDEN.
In the summer of 1629 a large army was sent by the Emperor
of Austria to the assistance of the Poles, who were then fighting
against Sweden. This, of course, led to war between the Swedes
and Austrians, and brought Gustavus Adolphus into the field.
The King of Sweden appeared upon the scene as the champion of
Protestantism, while the Emperor fought for the supremacy of the
Church of Rome. The struggle was a long one ; and though,
after a time, selfish and political interests took the place of the
religious elements with which the war began, it yet ended ultimately
in the establishment of civil and religious liberty in Germany.
Acting under instructions from Lord Reay, Lieutenant-Colonel
Munro, instead of returning with the Regiment to Scotland,
tendered its services to the King of Sweden. Gustavus, who had
formed a high opinion of the Scottish soldiery (he had many of
them in his service), was glad to secure the assistance of a regiment
which had already made itself so famous, and very speedily agreed
to such conditions as were satisfactory to all concerned ; and under
him the Regiment gained even greater honours, if that were possible,
than it had achieved, when originally embodied, and serving the
King of Denmark.
When the arrangements were completed, six companies of the
Highlanders were, on the orders of Gustavus, despatched, " as a be-
ginning," by Munro from Elsinore to Braunsburg in Prussia. There
they had a very easy time of it, for they were stationed in that district
for more than a year without being engaged in any active service.
The remainder of the Regiment must have been removed to Holland,
to wait reinforcements and instructions from Lord Reay, for Munro
says, " other sixe Companies of the old Regiment, the Colonell
directed from Holland to Sweden, in November 1629, where they
160 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
remained in Garrison till May 1630." This would make the total
strength of the regiment twelve companies, or about 2000 men,
when it entered the service of Gustavus Adolphus.
Munro remained in Denmark to meet Lord Reay ; and they
both passed the winter in that country. In February, 1630, his
Lordship proceeded to Sweden to wait on the King, and was
accompanied by Munro.* His Majesty received them graciously,
and they found him so well pleased with the condition and disci-
pline of the Highlanders, that he " did wish in open presence of
the Army that all his Foot were as well disciplined. . . . And
having caused the Eegiment march by towards their Quarters his
Majesty did mightily and much praise the Regiment for their good
Lord Reay remained in Sweden with the division of his
Regiment which was there ; but Munro was directed to proceed to
Prussia, to take command of the six companies which had been
sent to Braunsburg.
In the month of May the King took shipping with his army
for Germany, and Lord Reay, with the division of his Regiment,
accompanied him. The first service they had was the taking of
Stettin. This city was then governed by the Duke of Pomerania,
and on reaching it a trumpeter was sent to demand entrance. The
Duke replied that he wished to remain neutral ; but as this answer
was not considered satisfactory by Gustavus, the Duke came out
to have a personal interview with the King. After some conversa-
tion, he returned to the city, " and the drawbridge being let down
for him, Lord Reay, at the head of his men, sprang upon it along
with him, and rushing in at the gate, they were followed by the
King and his army." There was no active resistance, and the city
was taken without any bloodshed. t But Tilly was in the imme-
diate neighbourhood, in command of the Imperialist army, and like
a vulture scenting its prey, was on the watch.
Gustavus, on getting into Stettin, immediately appointed a
solemn thanksgiving, to be held by the army, for their easy victory.
Tilly, ever on the alert, took advantage of this, and fell upon the
* Lord Reay and Munro "were nobly and courteously entertained " on their
journey through Sweden. They visited many of their countrymen, who had
settled in the land, and among others " that worthy Cavaliere, Colonell Alexander
Hamilton at his Worke-houses at Urbowe, being then imployed in making of
Cannon and fire-workes for his Majesty." This was Sir Alexander Hamilton of
Redhouse, a celebrated artillerist, whose cannon were long famous in Germany ;
and guns made on his principle, and known as Canon a la Suedois, were used in
the French Army till 1780. He returned to Scotland, became famous in the wars
of the Covenant, and was killed by an explosion at the castle of Dunglass.
t History of the House and Clan of Mackay.
Mackay's Regiment 161
outposts ; but an alarm being given, he was soon repulsed. Then
thinking, perhaps, that the death of Gustavus would bring the war
to an end, he bribed two German soldiers to assassinate the King.
But the treason was discovered : One of the men was apprehended
and executed, the other, however, escaped.
The division of Highlanders remained for several months at
Stettin, and were afterwards joined there by the six companies
which had been sent to Braunsburg, whose adventures I shall now
relate. On the 12th August, 1630, they were ordered to proceed
to Pillau, and from thence to take shipping to Wolgast. Three
vessels were employed for their conveyance ; but a few days after
sailing, one of the ships, that in which Lieutenant-Colonel Munro,
with three of the companies, had embarked, was driven ashore in
a storm, and became a total wreck, those on board barely escaping
with their lives.* From some peasants it was ascertained they had
been wrecked on the Island of Rugen, and that the Imperialists
were in considerable force in the neighbourhood. The shipwrecked
men were in miserable plight, their ammunition had been destroyed,
and they had no weapons " but swords, pikes, and some wet mus-
kets." With the enemy near at hand, prompt action was necessary.
The Castle of Eugenwalde, belonging to the Duke of Pomerania,
was not far off. The Duke was a secret partisan of Gustavus, and
though the Imperialists had taken possession of the town, they
strangely had left the castle under the charge of the Duke's re-
tainers. Munro sent an officer, under the direction of a guide, to
the commander of the castle, to say that if he would furnish muskets
and ammunition, he (Munro) would clear the town of the Imperia-
lists, and defend it for the King. This the commander at once
* As there is no further reference to the other ships, it may be presumed that
they reached their destination in safety, and that the remaining three companies
of the Regiment arrived at Wolgast, and afterwards joined the head quarters at
Among the incidents connected with the shipwreck, Munro mentions " that
in the very moment when our ship did breake on ground, there was a Sergeants
"Wife a shipboard who without the helpe of any women was delivered of a Boy,
which all the time of the tempest she carefully did preserve, and being come
ashore, the next day she marched neere foure English mile, with that in her
Armes, which was in her Belly the night before, and was Christened the next
Sunday after sermon, being the day of our thanksgiving for our Deliverance, our
Preacher Mr. Murdow Mac-Kenyee, a worthy and Religious young man, having
discharged his part that day, after with much regrate did sever from us, and
followed my Lord of Rkee our Colonell unto Britaine. " Mackenzie, the preacher,
was afterwards minister of Suddie, in Ross-shire.
Munro also mentions that two of those on board " that tooke a pride in their
swimming, thinking by swimming to gaine the shore, were both drowned." These
were the only men lost. The one was a Dane (probably one of the sailors), and
the other " Murdo Piper."
162 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
agreed to, and fifty muskets with ammunition were supplied. When
night came, the Highlanders were admitted hy a secret passage
into the castle, and from thence passed easily into the town below.
There they fell suddenly on the Imperialists, who were prepared
for an attack from without, but not from within ; and not know-
ing the numbers of the force thus so unexpectedly appearing, the
usual effect of a panic followed. In short, such was the impetu-
osity with which the Highland musketeers and pikemen made their
attack, that the whole band of Imperialists were either killed or
taken prisoners. The keys of the town and castle were then de-
livered to Munro, and next day he sent a messenger to Stettin to
acquaint his Majesty with the manner of his landing, and his
"happy success" thereafter. He got orders from the King to
maintain this valuable acquisition, " to keepe good watch and good
order over the soldiers, and not to suffer them to wrong the
country people whom " he " should presse to keepe for " his
" Friends." '
" Thus by a daring midnight attack, resolutely executed, under
the most disadvantageous circumstances, a few Scottish Highlanders
rewon the fertile Isle of Eugen for Gustavus."*
Munro retained Rugenwalde for nine weeks, during which the
cannonading, firing, and skirmishing were incessant. But the
Austrians closed in upon all sides, and his situation soon became
one of the greatest peril. He was, however, relieved by an old
friend and fellow student, Sir John Hepburn, who, by order of the
King, pushed forward to his assistance, by forced marches from
The next service of the Highlanders was the defence of the
castle and town of Schiefelbein, described as " a scurvie hole for
any honest cavalier to maintain his credit in," though it had been
a post of strength. The castle, however, was in a dilapidated con-
dition, and the town almost deserted, nearly half the inhabitants
having died of a pestilence. A large force of Imperialists was
known to be marching to the relief of Colberg, which was invested
by General Kniphausen ; and, as the relieving party must needs
pass Schiefelbein, Munro was commanded to take possession of the
castle. He had barely time to throw up some earthworks, when
the enemy appeared. The orders he had received were brief and
clear : " Maintain the town as long as you can ; but fight to the
last man, and do not give up the castle." Obedient to this, when
the enemy appeared, and sent a trumpeter to propose a treaty of
* Grant's Memoirs of Sir John ffepbvm,
Mackay's Regiment 163
surrender, Munro replied, " I have no such orders, but I have
powder and ball at your service." Upon this the attack began ;
but not being able to maintain the town, the defenders retired to
the castle. The enemy having brought in their artillery and am-
munition to the Market place, again sent to see if Munro would
deliver " up the Castle upon good conditions, but if not, he should
have no quarter afterwards." An answer similar to the first was
returned, and then the attack began anew. The Imperialist force
was under the command of Count Montecuculi, and numbered
about eight thousand men. The castle was at once invested on all
sides, and at nightfall the enemy began to " plant their Batteries
within fourtie paces of our walles, which," says the gallant defender,
" I thought too neere ; but the night drawing on, wee resolved with
fireworkes, to cause them remove their quarters, and their
Artillerie." Munro soon showed what he meant by fireworks.
He resolved to burn out the enemy by setting fire to the town ;
and his proceedings were speedy and simple. He directed one of
his soldiers to fix a fire ball on the house that was nearest the castle^
and the result was, as he tells us, that " the whole street did burns
right alongst betwixt us and the enemy, who was then forced to
retire, both his Canon and Souldiers, and not without great losse
done unto him by our Souldiers." " Upon this the wary Montecuculi
auguring from the resolution of the governor, and the sturdy
valour of his bare-kneed soldiers, that no laurels would be won
. . retired in the night without beat of drum, and under cover
of a dense mist. Thus did five hundred Highlanders repel sixteen
times their number of Imperialists."*
Count Montecuculi resumed his march towards Colberg, his
main object being, as we have seen, to relieve that stronghold.
But this he was not permitted to accomplish, for Field-Marshal
Home, accompanied by Lord Reay, with some Highland Musketeers,
had come up from Stettin and joined General Kniphausen, and
thus stopped his march in that direction. An engagement took
place between the two forces on the 13th November, without, how-
ever, leading to any decisive result, for a thick fog again coming on,
the Imperialists were able to retire, though not without some loss.
Indeed, if it had not been for " the Scottish musketeers of Hepburn
and Lord Eeay, who were in the van . . . and stood like a
rampart, pouring in their volleys from right to left," the Imperialists
would probably have been the victors. The Swedish infantry, who
were led by a young and inexperienced officer, fled almost without
* Memoirs of Sir John Hepburn.
164 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
firing a shot ; and their cavalry also were seized by an unaccount-
able panic, and likewise took flight. Indeed, two of the troopers
galloped to Schiefelbein, and told Munro that the Swedish army
was beaten. Munro, however, did not believe this, and had them
imprisoned until he ascertained the truth. He shortly after-
wards saw the enemy retreating, about a mile off, and gives the fol-
lowing account of what took place :
"The morning being dark with a thick mist the horsemen
charging one another, they came in confusion on both sides, being
affrighted alike, retired from each others with the losse of foure score
men on both sides. The particulars whereof I will not set downe,
having not seene the service."
Although, taking part in various engagements, nothing of im-
portance occurred in which the Regiment was concerned, for some-
time after this. Munro, of course, went to see his Colonel, Lord
Reay ; and a few days after the retreat of the Imperialists, was
ordered to remove with his Highlanders from Schiefelbein, and
march to Stettin, to join the headquarters of the Kegiment.
Lord Eeay had again to proceed to Great Britain.* Gustavus
Adolphus wanted more men, and commissioned his Lordship to
raise new levies, not only for completing the ranks of his own
Kegiment, but also to form two new Regiments one English, and
the other Scots. This he accomplished Sir John Conway being
appointed to the command of the English, and Munro of Obisdell
to the Scots. During Lord Keay's absence on this mission, the
command of the Regiment was given to Lieut. -Colonel Munro.
In January, 1631, the army left Stettin. The King, with
about eight thousand horse and foot, marched to New Brandenburg,
while the rest of the army was left at Landsberg, under Field
Marshal Home. Arriving at New Brandenburg, the King arranged
the order of battle. After some sharp cannonading on both sides,
* A collection of holograph letters, written by Gustavus Adolphns to Lord
Eeay, was lent by the Honourable George Mackay of Skibo, " to an individual of
eminence in Edinburgh, but, probably by mere accident, never returned subse-
quently to that gentleman's sudden decease. It is understood that those letters
were of a deeply interesting kind, elucidating the true principles and character of
that eminent prince, as well as those of his Scottish auxiliary and associate in
warfare, whom Gustavus honoured with his unreserved confidence and intimate
personal friendship. The representative havers [custodiers] of such interesting
memorials can surely not be any way profited by prolonging their custody of
them. '' (From a Newspaper notice on the death of Admiral the Hon. Donald
Hugh Mackay, who died on the 26th March, 1850. )
Efforts have been made to discover the above-mentioned letters ; but hitherto
without success, as it is not known in whose hands they now are. They would,
without doubt, throw much light on the history of Mackay's Regiment ; and it is
to be hoped they may some day be found and given to the public.
Mackay's Regiment. 165
the Highlanders stormed a Triangle or Eavelin, and forced the
enemy to retire within the town, when, fearing a general storming
of the place, they sent a drummer to desire a truce, so as to arrange
terms of surrender. Conditions were agreed upon, and the garri-
son, which, according to Munro, was a bravo little band " of five
hundred Horse, and twelve hundred Foot, being as complete to
look on as you could wish," were allowed to " march out with bagge
and baggage Horse and Foot with full Armes " and a convoy to
A small garrison was left in New Brandenburg, and the Swedish
army pursued its march, taking various towns, and inflicting great
damage on the Imperialists. Trepto, Letts, and Demmin were
captured, and considerable booty fell to the share of the troops.
At Demmin, the King highly commended the bravery and charity
of the Highlanders, for a Swedish officer being left wounded within
range of the enemy's cannon, and his own countrymen through fear
refusing to bring him off, a small party of Mackay's Regiment
rushed in and brought him away, " to their great praise," as Munro
In March, 1631, Gustavus Adolphus formed what was known
as the Scots Brigade, giving the command to one of the bravest
and ablest leaders of the age Sir John Hepburn. The Brigade
consisted of four picked Scottish regiments, viz. : Hepburn's own
Regiment, Mackay's Highlanders, Stargate's Regiment, and Lums-
den's Musketeers. From the colour of the tartan of the High-
landers, and the doublets of the other regiments, it was also some-
times designated the Green Brigade. At this time Gustavus had
upwards of thirteen thousand Scottish soldiers in his service.
A movement was now made by the King towards the Oder,
but before marching in that direction he increased the garrison of
New Brandenburg, by leaving in it six companies, or nearly a thou-
sand of the Highlanders, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel
Lindsay, and an equal number of Swedes, under General Kniphausen.
The King's object was to have Tilly's army detained there, while
he prosecuted the campaign in another direction.
New Brandenburg was in a wretched condition to stand a siege.
The walls were in ruins, and the moat nearly filled up ; and there
were only a couple of falconets or two-pounders, as the whole ar-
tillery of the defenders. On the King's departure, Tilly at once
brought up his army, which consisted of twenty-two thousand men,
with twenty-six pieces of artillery, and beset the town on all sides.
On surrounding the town, Tilly summoned the garrison to surrender,
which, of course, they refused to do, and the siege immediately be-
1 66 Gaelic Society of In verness.
gan. It lasted nine days. The resistance was desperate. An ac-
cidental blunder led the defenders to deem it their duty to hold
out ; for although instructions to capitulate had been transmitted
to General Kniphausen, yet, in some unaccountable manner, these
instructions miscarried. Worn out, and seeing no chance of suc-
cour, the defenders at last offered to surrender ; but Tilly now re-
fused to give them any quarter. Then followed the last assault ;
and after a stubborn and heroic resistance, the town was taken. A
merciless slaughter was the result. On that memorable and miser-
able occasion, the fury and cruelty of the Austrian General was ex-
pended chiefly on our brave countrymen, for even the greater part
of the prisoners taken, were barbarously murdered ; and over six
hundred of Lord Eeay's Highlanders were on that day cut to pieces.
Only two officers and a few men escaped by swimming the moat.
In Colonel Mitchell's Life of Wallenstein it is stated : " This
nine days' defence of an old rampart without artillery, proves how
much determined soldiers can effect behind stone walls ; and it is
exceedingly valuable in an age that has seen first-rate fortresses,
fully armed, surrender before any part of the works had been in-
jured often, indeed, at the very first summons."
A lamentable account of the slaughter was brought to Sir John
Hepburn by the two escaped officers, Captain Innes and Lieutenant
Lumsden. It filled the whole camp with horror, and a vow of
vengeance was uttered, which was soon to be fulfilled.
When the dreadful information was received, Hepburn was on
his way to Frankfort on the Oder, and there the Scots Brigade
resolved they would be revenged for the slaughter of their country-
men. The army was led by the King in person, and consisted of
about ten thousand horse and foot, with a considerable force of
artillery. Hepburn's Brigade formed the van of the army.
Frankfort, being a rich and important city, was well defended.
It was surrounded by strong ramparts with massive gates, and had
then within its walls a garrison of ten thousand men, commanded
by Counts Schomberg and Montecuculi. When the Swedish army
drew near, the whole line of the " embattled wall . . . was
bright with the glitter of" the Austrians' "helmets; while pike-
heads, the burnished barrels of muskets, and sword blades, were
seen incessantly flashing in the sunshine."
Gustavus was not long in settling the plan of attack, and getting
his army into position. This accomplished, he detailed Field
Marshal Home to occupy the pass between Frankfort and Berlin,
in order to prevent Tilly, who was known to be hurrying on, from
attacking the Swedish army in the rear.
Mackay's Regiment 167
" On Sunday, in the morning, being Palme-Sunday (3rd April,
1631) his Majestie with his whole Annie in their best apparell
served God; his Majestie after Sermon, encouraging" the " Souldiers,
wishing them to take their evil dayes they had then, in patience,
and that he hoped before long to give them better dayes ; " and
then commending " all to be in readiuesse, with their Armes,
against the next orders," it was suspected by some that an attack
would at once be made upon the city. Thereupon (very quietly
adds Munro, as if it were a mere every day occurrence) a number
of the men belonging to Sinclair's company, " provided themselves
of some ladders." That is, without being commanded to do so,
they got the materials ready, with which, in case of need, they
might scale the walls, should the city be stormed. This shows
that these Highlanders were imbued with the true spirit of soldier
ship and military adventure.
That afternoon the King issued orders for a general assault,
and in the evening Frankfort was taken. The various points of
attack having been decided upon, and the different Eegiments told
off for their special services, the final order was given. It was
this : that when the Swedish artillery fired a grand salvo against
the walls, then, on the first discharge, and under cover of the
smoke, Hepburn's and Banier's brigades " should advance to the
storm e." Before the signal was given, it is reported that the King
called Sir John Hepburn and another Scottish officer, Sir James
Lumsden of Invergellie, and addressing them, said " Now, my
valiant Scots, remember your brave Countrymen who were slain
at New Brandenburg ! "*
A trumpet sounded. The whole of the Swedish artillery poured
a thundering discharge upon the enemy's works ; and the Scots
Brigade, with levelled pikes, and led by Hepburn and Lumsden,
rushed on to storm the Giiben gate. Both officers carried lighted
petards ; and amid a cloud of fire and smoke, with bullets of every
size lead, iron, and brass discharged by the Imperialists, from
walls, parapets, and palisades, whizzing around them, they resolutely
advanced and attached the small but powerful engines to the gate.
The officers retired a few paces, the petards burst, and the strong
gate was shivered into a thousand fragments.
But the defenders were not unprepared for this. They had
planted what Munro calls " a flake of small shot that shot a dozen
of shot at once," and " two peeces of small ordinance" to guard the
entrance. As the Scots Brigade advanced, these made tremendous
* Memoirs of Sir John Hepburn.
168 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
havoc in their dense ranks, while the Austrian musketeers, at the
same time, poured volley after volley, which " made cruell and
pittifull execution on our" countrymen.
While Hepburn's own Regiment was advancing in this way, the
Highlanders were approaching from another direction. They had
crossed the moat amidst mud and water which came up to their
gorgets (that is higher than the middle), and boldly planting their
ladders, clambered over the sloping bastions under a tremendous
fire, and carried the outer palisades. They were now close by the
Guben gate. Sir John Hepburn, leading on his pikemen, was just
then shot in the knee. He noticed Munro, with his Highlanders,
and cried out to him (they were, as I have mentioned, old friends),
" Bully, Munro, I am shot." He was carried away in great pain.
His Major, " a resolute cavalier," who had advanced to take his
place was also shot dead, " whereupon the Pikes falling back and
standing still," wavered for a moment. " Forward ! " cried Munro
to his Highlanders, " Advance, Pikes ! " and the gate was stormed
in a twinkling. Side by side, with Hepburn's Eegiment now led
by Lumsden, the Highlanders rushed on ; the Austrians were driven
back in confusion ; and their own cannon being turned on them
within the gate, many were literally blown to pieces. On Hepburn's
men and the Highlanders pressed through one street, densely
crowded with Imperial troops, followed by General Sir John Banier
with his brigade, who pressed the enemy in another. Twice the
retreating Imperialists beat a parley : but amid the roar of the
musketry, the boom of the artillery, and the shouts and cries of the
combatants, the sound of the drum was unheeded. Still the struggle
continued, and the carnage went on. Inch by inch, every foot of
the way was contested. " Quarter ! quarter ! " cried the slowly re-
treating Austrians ; but to every such appeal the Scottish soldiers'
only answer was " New Brandenburg ! Eemernber New Branden-
burg ! " The Scots Brigade still pressed forward, and Highlander
and Lowlander, shoulder to shoulder, advanced like moving castles,
the long pikes levelled in front, while the rear ranks of musketeers
volleyed in security from behind. It was a dreadful retribution.
Four colonels, thirty-six other officers, and about three thousand
soldiers of the Imperial army were left dead in the streets. Fifty
colours were taken, and an immense quantity of treasure ; for whole
streets were left " full of coaches and rusty waggons, richly fur-
nished with all sorts of riches, as Plate, Jewells, Gold, Money,
Clothes," &c., a great portion of which fell to the share of the vic-
The total loss sustained by Gustavus's army was about eight
Mackay's Regiment 16'!
hundred men ; and of this number three hundred belonged to the
Scots Brigade. Two Colonels were the only officers of rank
There was no wilful injury done to any of the inhabitants ;
and as soon as order was restored, the King caused a day of thanks-
giving to be observed for the victory.
The army remained for a few days at Frankfort, and then Gus-
tavus, leaving a small garrison behind, proceeded to Landsberg, a
strongly fortified town, in the capture of which the Highlanders
took a prominent part. Success attended the Swedish army, and
in a short time " the Lion of the North " cleared Pomerania and
Brandenburg of the Imperialists. The Highlanders returned to
Frankfort, and remained there five weeks. Then followed a series
of marchings and counter-marchings, in which there were frequent
skirmishes but no pitched battles. In most of these the High-
landers came in for a share of hard knocks, but " not being used
to be beaten," they always came off with credit.
The next service of importance was the battle of Leipzig, fought
on the 7th September, 1631. This great battle was the most im-
portant of the struggle, and may be said to have formed the pivot,
on the turning of which the liberties of Germany of Europe
depended. The Imperialists, under Tilly, numbered about forty-
four thousand men, and the Swedish army, under Gustavus, about
thirty thousand. At one time it seemed as if fortune were about to
forsake the Swedish King, for the Saxon cavalry, on being charged
by the Imperial horsemen, turned and fled, their cowardly leader
being the first to quit the field, from which he rode ten miles with-
out drawing bridle. The Imperialists finding the Saxon cavalry
too swift for them, and seeing the Scottish regiments advancing,
stopped, when their leader cried, " let us beat these curs, and then
all Germany is our own;"* but the deadly fire of the Scottish
musketeers checked their career, and emptied many a saddle.
Hepburn, who was again able to take his command, was advancing
with his Brigade, which he kept moving steadily on until they got
so close to the Austrian soldiers, that the very colour of their eyes
was visible. Then he gave the word, " Forward, pikes ! " In a
moment the old Scottish weapon was levelled to the charge, and
with a loud cheer, each of the four regiments rushed on the columns
of Tilly, driving them back in irredeemable confusion, and with
frightful slaughter. Lord Eeay's Highlanders " formed the leading
column . . . and had the honour of first breaking the Austrian
* Memoiri of Sir John Hepburn.
1 70 Gaelic Society of In verness.
ranks. They were [then] a thousand strong, composed of that
nobleman's own immediate clansmen ; and the Imperialists re-
garded them with terror, calling them the invincible old Regiment,
and the right hand of Gustavus Adolphus."*
I shall not attempt to describe the battle. The Imperialists
suffered a most severe defeat, and their retreat from the battlefield
was like a race for life. Unfortunately Gustavus did not follow
up his victory by pursuing the enemy, and marching on to Vienna,
where the panic was so great, that he could probably have arranged
satisfactory terms, and so ended the war. This, at all events, is
the opinion of some of the historians.
Tilly was wounded and once taken prisoner, and was only res-
cued after a desperate conflict. Though cruel, he was personally
brave, and it is reported " burst into a passion of tears on beholding
the slaughter of his soldiers, and finding that the field, after a five
hours' struggle, was lost by the advance of Hepburn." He escaped,
but he left many of his best officers, and nearly eight thousand
soldiers, dead on the field.
It was at Leipzig " that the Scottish regiments first practised
firing in platoons, which amazed the Imperialists to such a degree
that they hardly knew how to conduct themselves, "t
The Scots Brigade was publicly thanked in presence of the
whole army, and promised noble rewards, as we are told by Munro,
who modestly adds " The battaile thus happily wonne, his Ma-
jesty did principally under God ascribe the glory of the victory to
the Sweds and Fynnes horsemen . . . yet it was the Scots
Briggads fortune to have gotten the praise for the foote service ;
and not without cause, having behaved themselves well, being led
and conducted by an expert Cavalier and fortunat, the valiant
The loss sustained by the Scottish soldiers is not mentioned ;
but Gustavus's total loss did not exceed three thousand men, and of
this number only seven hundred were of the Swedish army ; the
rest being Saxons. One half of Gustavus's army on this occasion
was made up of Saxons ; and, as I have mentioned, they early in
the day tried to find safety in flight. The battle may therefore be
said to have been an engagement bet\yeen fifteen thousand men on
the part of the Swedish King, and forty-four thousand on that of
the Emperor of Austria.
Many prisoners were taken, and an immense amount of booty.
* Hepburn's Memoirs.
" f Harte's Life of Gustavus.
Mackay's Regiment 171
Of the prisoners, three thousand expressed themselves willing to
take service with Gustavus, and were distributed among the Dutch
Regiments. Munro relates that he requested the King's permission
to fill up the ranks of Mackay's Regiment from among the British
and Irish who might be among those three thousand, seeing that
the Regiment had become weak from " the great losse sustained
on all the former occasions of service." This request the King
granted, and Munro went away " overjoyed, thinking to get a
recreut of old Souldiers," but he was sadly disappointed, for
there were only three Irish among the prisoners, and he declined
to take them.
" After the battle of Leipzig, with the sword in one hand, and
nieicy in the other, Gustavus Adolphus traversed Germany as a
conqueror, a lawgiver, and a judge, almost with as much rapidity
as another could have done on a journey of pleasure, while the
keys of towns and fortresses were delivered to him by the inhabit-
ants as to their lawful sovereign."*
I need not enumerate the various places that were taken by
the " ever victorious army ; " but will merely mention that before
the end of September, all the towns between Leipzig and Wurtz-
burg had surrendered to the King.
At Halle, Munro mentions he got " fifty old souldiers that took
service in the Regiment." Here also, he adds, " His Majesty on
the Sabbath day in the morning went to Church, to give thanks
to God for his by-past victories : this Church being the Bishop's
Cathedrall seate, I did heare there sung the sweetest melodious
iQUsicke that could be heard, where I did also see the most beauti-
ful women Dutchland could afoord."
Oppenheim, an ancient town on the Rhine, with a strong castle,
was taken in the month of December. The weather was bitterly
cold, with frost and snow, and the Brigade had to lie in the fields,
having no shelter but some bushes. The enemy's cannon plagued
them much, especially at night, when the camp fires were lighted ;
for the light from these fires served the enemy as a mark, and the
Brigade suffered considerably in consequence from their shot.
" Sitting one night at supper," says Munro, " a Bullet of thirty two
pound weight, shot right out betwixt Colonell Hepburnes shoulder
and mine, going through the Colonells Coach ; the next shot
kill'd a Sergeant of mine, by the fire, drinking a pipe of Tobacco."
The castle was taken the next day. The garrison, " being
Italians," got " more honourable quarters than in truth their car-
* Schillers' Thirty Years AVar.
172 Gaelic Society of In verness.
riage did deserve, having got licence to march out, Bag and Baggage,
with full Armes."
One hundred of Lord Eeay's Highlanders and one hundred of
Lumsden's musketeers were placed in the castle, and Hepburn with
the rest of the Brigade then crossed the Rhine to assist Gustavus
in reducing the old castle of Oppenheim, a place of vast size and
Mentz (or Mayence), reputed by the Germans of old the strongest
of their fortresses, was the next important point to which Gustavus
marched his army. " Colonell Hepburnes Briggad (according to
use) was directed to the most dangerous Poste, next the enemy."
They were cannonaded from the citadel, and of course lost many
After being invested three days, the town was delivered up
under a treaty, the garrison marching out, but without arms.
" They being gone, quarters were made for the whole foote within
the Towne, where three days before Christmasse we were quartered,
and remained there, being lodged in the extremitie of the cold with
the Hopstaffe,* to the fifth of March 1632." "At this siege,"
adds Munro, " our Briggad did sustaine more hurt than the rest of
the Armie, being most employed on all commands, both in respect
of their valour, and of the good conduct and fortune followed them,
and their Leaders."
On the oth of March, Hepburn's Brigade left Mentz. They
had been ten weeks in that city, and were well rested after the
severe campaign of the previous year. " Their arms and accoutre-
ments were polished till they shone like silver in the spring sun-
shine, as with their green silk standards unfurled, and their drums
beating and tall pikes glittering " they " crossed the Ehine by the
pontoon bridge. Lord Reay's Kilted Highlanders with pipes play-
ing and matches lighted, formed the leading column of the brigade,
which, conform to his orders, Hepburn marched straight to Frank-
fort, on the Maine. "t From thence they marched to Aschaffen-
burg, where they were reviewed by Gustavus and the King of
B.ohemia. Then crossing the Maine, they commenced their march
towards Bavaria, which the King had resolved to invade and clear
of the Imperialists. Arriving at Weinsheim on the 10th, they
were again reviewed by Gustavus and the King of Bohemia, and
Hepburn was complimented on the fine appearance and distinguished
bravery of his soldiers. The King of Bohemia expressed a deep
* The principal officers of the staff,
t Memoirs of Sir John Hepburn.
Mackay's Regiment 173
interest in the Scottish troops, as being the countrymen of Eliza-
beth Stuart, his beautiful and high spirited Queen.
Gustavus had mustered a large army at Weinsheim, there hav-
ing been present at the review a force of twenty thousand horse
and foot, besides artillery. After the review, the march was
resumed. On the 26th, Donauworth was taken. It was a short
but sharp conflict. Here Hepburn was again publicly thanked
for his good services, the whole honour of the capture being ascribed
to his courage, and the masterly conduct of his soldiers ; for, says
Munro, " had it not beene for the valour of the Scots Briggad, they
had all beene lost and defeated by " the enemy.
The following incident in connection with the taking of Donau-
worth is related. The Eex Chancellor Oxenstiern ordered the Dutch
regiments to march towards the enemy, and " beate the Scots march,
thinking thereby to affright the enemy ; but it fell out contrary."
The Imperialists charged. The Dutch at once turned and fled,
and " made a base retreate," but the Scots coming up, resisted the
enemy, and gave " the victory that before was doubtful " to the
After resting four days at Donauworth, Gustavus, having re-
ceived large reinforcements, advanced at the head of thirty-two
thousand horse and foot, to force the passage of the Lech. On the
Bavarian side of the river, Tilly, with a large body of troops, lined
the banks at the very point towards which Gustavus was marching
with his army. They came in view of each other on the 5th April,
and the battle at once began. The bronzed veterans of Tilly stood
firm, and for thirty-six hours a cross fire was maintained by the
artillery of the two armies, from opposite sides of the stream. The
Austrians suffered severely. Tilly, then seventy-two years of age,
was shot in the leg, and from the nature of his wound was forced
to retire. Deprived of the animating presence of their leader, the
Austrians gave way and retreated. Gustavus then crossed the
river, the Scots Brigade forming the van, for in every desperate
duty they had the post of honour. Three days afterwards Tilly
expired in great agony at Ingolstadt, to which city he had retreated
with a portion of his army.
Gustavus, with his invincibles, swept on like a comet ! City
after city was taken, and in a short time the whole of Bavaria, as
far as the barriers of the Capital, lay open to his soldiers, whose
* Grant in his Memoirs of Sir John Hepburn says, The Dutch here resorted
to their old ruse of beating the Scottish March, as they approached the enemy ;
and again, The Dutch in Gustavus's service were many times glad to beat " the
old Scots march " when they designed to frighten or alarm the enemy.
174 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
valour seemed to be irresistible. On the 6th of May the victorious
army halted before Munich.
Fearing that resistance might be made, Gustavus sent Hepburn
with his brigade round the town, by a circuitous road, to the bridge
of the Iser ; where, arriving in the night, they remained under
arms till daybreak. Then the Scots Brigade had the honour of
first entering the city. " The din of their drums beating the old
Scots March, mingled with the wild war pipes of Lord Jteay's
Highlanders, ringing in the empty and stately streets of the Bavarian
Capital, spread terror and consternation among the citizens ; " but
the leading men had faith " in the magnanimity of the conqueror
and the mercy of his chivalric soldiers," and received Gustavus and
his army with all due respect.
Only the Scottish Eegiments were permitted to have their
quarters within the walls of Munich, the rest of the army being
encamped outside the city ; and to the Highlanders was entrusted
the honourable duty of being body-guard to the King during the
three weeks they were in the Bavarian Capital. The Highland
pikemen stood in all the doorways and staircases, and the officers
were not permitted to leave their guards, having their meals served
up from the King's own table.* This preference excited the jeal-
ousy of the Swedes and Dutch. Munro says We were " ordained
to lie in the great Courte of the Palace, night and day at our
Annes, to guard both the Kings persone, and to set out all Guards
about the Palace, where I was commanded with our whole officers,
not to stirre off our watch, having allowance of Table and diet for
us and our officers within his Majesties house, to the end we might
the better look to our watch : and the command of directions under
stayers [stairs] was put upon me, being then Commander of the
Guards ; where I had power over the whole officers belonging to
the house, and might have commanded to give out anything to
pleasure Cavaliers ; having stayed in this charge three weekes nobly
On the 1st June the King issued orders to Hepburn to leave
Munich with the Scots Brigade for Donauworth, where they were
to join the main army. From Donauworth they marched to Furth,
a few miles from Nurnberg, and there Gustavus at once made pre-
parations for opposing Wallenstein, the Imperialist Commander in
Chief, who was reported to be advancing with great rapidity, and
only a few days' march distant. He had a force of about sixty
thousand men, while Gustavus had then only eighteen thousand.
* Memoirs'of Sir John Hepburn.
Mackay's Regiment. 175
Gustavus. however, occupied a good position, which he resolved
to strengthen and defend. The people of Nurnberg, moreover,
were favourable to his cause, and immediately raised twenty-four
companies of musketry for his assistance. He also called upon the
Duke of Saxe Weimar and others for aid, which was at once
granted. Protestant soldiers too, of all nations flocked to his
banner ; and by the end of July he found himself at the head of
an army of seventy thousand men.
Here unfortunately Hepburn quarrelled with Gustavus, and left
his service. Various reasons have been assigned as the cause of
the quarrel, one of which is that the King upbraided Hepburn on
account of his religion, which was Roman Catholic, and which he
prized more than his life. He had left Scotland to fight for Eliza-
beth Stuart, and not for the Protestant cause, although, as we know,
her cause became that of Protestantism. But, whatever the quarrel,
Hepburn resigned his commission, and haughtily withdrew. He
returned to Britain, and six months later entered the service of
Gustavus had placed more confidence in him than in any other
officer (he was seven years in his service), and " made several con-
descensions to Hepburn and appeared particularly desirous of re-
taining so valuable an officer in his service ; but the Scottish hero
was inflexible. Unable to brooke an imaginary insult even for a
moment, ' Sire,' replied the fiery cavalier, laying his hand upon his
rapier, ' I will never more unsheath this sword in the quarrels of
No one regretted the departure of Hepburn more than Munro.
They were very old friends. I was " ever much obliged to him,"
writes Munro, " not only for his love . . . but also for his
good counsel!, he being long before me in the Sivedens service.
And as we were oft Camerades of danger together ; so being long
acquainted we were Camerades in love : first at Colledge, next in
our tra veils in France, at Paris and Poictiers Anno 1615, till we
met againe in Spruce [East Prussia] at Elben in August 1630. . . .
Who is more worthy to be chosen for a friend, than one who hath
showne himselfe both valiant and constant against his enemies, as
the worthy Hepburne hath done, who is generally so well known
in Armies, that he needs no testimony of a friend, having credit
and reputation enough amongst his enemies."
It was not, however, till after the battle of Nurnberg had been
fought, and the army of Gustavus had retired to Newstadt, that
* Memoirs of Sir John Hepburn.
1 76 Gaelic Society of In verness.
Hepburn left his old friends. Although refusing to take any active
part in the engagement, he yet, by his advice and otherwise, was of
great service. When he did leave, all the Scottish officers in the
Swedish army accompanied him a long German mile* on the road ;
and when the moment of parting came, it was like the separation
which " death makes betwixt friends and the soule of men, being
sorry that those who lived so long together in amitie and friend-
ship, as also in mutuall dangers, in weale and in woe, and fearing
we should not meet againe, the splendour of our former mirth was
obnubilated with a cloud of griefe and sorrow ; which vanished and
dissolved in mutuall teares of love, severing from other, in love and
amitie ; wishing one another the mutuall enterchange of our affec-
tions, as souldiers, and not as complementing courtiers."
The two armies had now been lying in sight of each other in-
trenched in their respective camps for about six weeks, and no
regular engagement had taken place between them. There had
been a good deal of skirmishing and intercepting of convoys, but
nothing further the one was waiting for the other to begin the
attack. Provisions had for some time been getting scarce in both
camps it was next to impossible for either to get supplies, and the
people in the town were almost in a state of starvation. It was ne-
cessary, therefore, that a decisive step should be taken.
On the 22nd August, the battle may be said to have begun, and
the fighting, which continued for three days, was of a most desperate
character. Munro had been appointed to the command of the Scots
Brigade on the resignation of Hepburn, and on his first service in
that capacity was severely wounded. Many of his officers were
killed, and the Brigade suffered so severely that there were hardly
pikemen left to guard the colours. The musketeers also suffered,
but not in an equal degree. It was a drawn battle. Both parties
remained in their respective positions till the 14th September, when,
leaving five thousand men in Nurnberg, Gustavus retreated " to-
wards Neustadt, leaving no less than ten thousand citizens and
twenty thousand soldiers dead behind him, in and around Uurn-
berg ; for such were the terrible effects of sickness, famine, and the
casualties of war."*
When the Imperialists discovered that the army of Gustavus had
left, they also took their departure from Nurnberg, burning all the
villages that were near. They took a northerly direction, marching to
Forchheim, while Gustavus had moved towards the west and south.
* A German mile is equal to three and a half English miles,
t Memoirs of Sir John Hepburn.
Mackay's Regiment 177
The Scots Brigade was so reduced in numbers that, when they
got to Dunkelsbiihl about the end of September, the King gave
orders that they should go into quarters for rest, and to wait re-
cruits. His Majesty took leave of the remnant of the Brigade in
view of the whole army, thanking them for their past services, and
saying he was grieved to leave them behind. He appointed quar-
ters for them, the best in Swabia, and then calling upon the Count-
palatine Christian, recommended them particularly to his care, and
ordered that all moneys due them should be paid up. He hoped,
he said, he would find the Eegiments strengthened against his
Munro, somewhat recovered from his wounds, took leave of
the King at Donau worth on the llth of October. They never met
again, for within one month after their parting, the great Gustavus
was slain on the plains of Liitzen, near Leipzig.* This was on the
6th November, 1632. It is remarkable that this unfortunate occa-
sion was the only one in which he had engaged the enemy without
the mass of his Scottish troops. But although the King was slain,
victory remained with the Swedish army ; for Wallenstein and his
Imperialists were totally defeated, and forced to retreat to the
Mountains of Bohemia.
With Gustavus were buried the hopes of the Elector Frederick,
who, finding the Bohemian throne was lost to him for ever, died
soon after, it is said, of chagrin and grief.
The death of " the Lyon of the North, the invincible King of
Sweden," was a great blow to the cause for which he had been
righting, and which he had so much at heart. Munro seems almost
to have worshipped him, and in his panegyric says " if Apelles
with his skill in painting, and Cicero with his tongue in speaking,
were both alive, and pressed to adde anything to the perfection of
our Master, Captaine and King, truely the ones best Colours, and
the others best Words were not able to adde one shaddow to the
brightnesse of his Eoyall Minde and Spirit ; So that while the
world stands, our King, Captaine and Master cannot be enough
* Several officers who had served in Mackay's Regiment were with Gustavus
at Liitzen ; and William Mackay (son of Donald of Scoury), then a lieutenant-
colonel of Swedes, fell there along with his Commander.
The large rowelled spurs which Gustavus had on when he was slain are pre-
served in the museum of the Society of Antiquaries, Edinburgh. They were taken
off his boots on the field of battle, by Colonel Hugh Somerville, then his aide-de-
camp, and presented to the Society by Sir G. Colquhoun on the 8th July, 1761.
They are interesting relics, in so far as they were worn by one who was probably
the greatest military genius of the seventeenth century, and under whom so many
Scotsmen of eminence served and learned the art of war.
178 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
There is now but little more to say regarding Mackay's High-
landers. In the summer of 1632, Lord Reay had decided to take
no further personal share in the command, and, while the Regiment
was at Nurnberg, sent instructions to Munro to deal with the King
for the making up of the Regiment, which was then greatly reduced.
Hence, probably, one of the reasons why Gustavus sent the Regi-
ment into quarters to wait for recruits.
Although sent to Swabia to rest, the Scots Brigade were not
allowed to be idle. They, along with some Swedes, and Sir John
Ruthven's Brigade, were marched to Landsberg, which they be-
sieged. When the town was invested, there arose a rivalry or
" contestation of vertue," between the Scotsmen, as to which of
them, with their approaches, should first come to the wall. But
the Highlanders had the best of it, as Ruthven's Brigade " could
not but acknowledge ; . . . for in effect," says Munro, " we
were their Schoolmasters in Discipline," and they " were forced,
notwithstanding of their diligence, to yield the precedency unto us,
being older blades than themselves."
Landsberg was taken ; and then, instead of returning to their
appointed quarters, " to rest and recruit," the Scottish Regiments
were kept constantly on the move ; and many a weary march they
had, and many a stubborn fight. The shores of the Danube had
to be scoured by the hardy band ; Kauf beuren had to be stormed ;
and Kempten to be besieged ; and, in addition, many a small town
and fortress, which had been taken possession of by the enemy,
had to be recaptured, and held for the representatives of Gustavus.
Munro mentions that during these movements he was unable
to walk, owing to his wounds, so he commanded his troops on
horseback, from which it may be inferred that a Colonel of In-
fantry in those days led his men on foot, like the Captain of a
In July, 1633, the Scottish Regiment, which had been raised
about three years previously by Lord Reay, at the request of Gustavus
Adolphus, and the command of which had been given to Munro of
Obisdell,* was so reduced in numbers that only two companies
were left. These two companies were, by orders of Rex Chancellor
Oxenstiern, handed over to Munro, and joined to Lord Reay's
Munro was very desirous of having the Regiment made up to
its full strength, and shortly afterwards left Germany for Scotland,
to procure recruits. Lieutenant-Colonel John Sinclair (brother of
* Brother of Lieut, -Colonel Munro, the author of the Expedition.
Mackay's Regiment 179
the Earl of Caithness) got command of the Eegiment on his de-
parture ; but Sinclair was killed at the battle of Xeumark, almost
immediately thereafter. The command then devolved on Major
William Stewart (brother of the Earl of Traquair), who thus be-
came Lieutenant-Colonel of the Regiment.
Recruits arrived from time to time, and within twelve
months after Munro's departure the ranks of the Highlanders
were well made up ; for in 1634 they again mustered twelve
companies, or from eighteen hundred to two thousand men.
That was a disastrous year for them, for on the 26th of August, the
terrible battle of Nordlingen was fought.
After the death of Gustavus, jealousy on the part of the leaders
of the Swedish army prevented that unanimity of action among the
generals, which is so necessary for the successful carrying out of
any campaign. At the battle of Nordlingen the disastrous eifects
of this were painfully exemplified, for the petty jealousies of those
in command led to no properly defined plan of attack having been
arranged, and the result was that after a desperate struggle, the
Imperialists, under Ferdinand, the young King of Hungary, and
Generals Gallas and Von Werth, gained a complete victory over
the Swedes. Field Marshal Home, one of the best and bravest
of the Swedish ofiicers, was taken prisoner. But, notwithstanding
these jealousies, had the other sections of the Swedish army fought
as well as the Highlanders, the result would have been different.
It was a dreadful day for Mackay's Regiment, for out of the twelve
companies of which it was then composed, only one company sur-
vived, the rest having literally been cut to pieces. This was such
a frightful disaster that the Regiment did not recover from the loss.
Nearly all the German allies of Sweden deserted her after the
defeat at Nordlingen, and selfishly entered into a treaty with
Austria, for the security of their territories.
Called in originally to assist the German Protestants, the
Swedes found themselves, after years of hard fighting, all at once
deserted by the very men for whose liberties they had been shed-
ding their blood, and regarded as foreigners and intruders, whom it
was expedient to get rid of as quickly as possible. The whole
weight of the war was thus thrown upon Sweden. But a new and
unexpected ally against Austria was soon found. That ally was
France. The war which had been begun for a noble purpose
then assumed the character of a struggle for the most selfish
ends. France was jealous of the immense power of Austria,
and had long been waiting for a favourable opportunity to take a
part in the conflict. That moment had arrived, and it seemed that
1 80 Gaelic Society of In verness.
French interests could best be served by co-operating with Sweden.
The war after this was waged between France, Sweden, and one
or two of the small German States on the one hand, and Austria,
with the vast majority of the German States, on the other. I need
not enter further into the details of the struggle. Ultimately
Sweden and her allies triumphed, the power of Austria was much
curtailed, and the thirty years' war came to an end. The treaty
of peace was signed on the 24th of October, 1648. I may men-
tion that, by that treaty France obtained the sovereignty of Upper
and Lower Alsace, and a number of minor properties, which, after
holding for upwards of two hundred years, she had to resign to
Germany, as the result of the late Franco-German war.
But what about the few Highlanders who survived the battle
of Nordlingen 1 The story is soon told.
After that disaster the remnants of the Scottish regiments were
placed under the command of Duke Bernard of Saxe- Weimar, who
for a considerable time hovered about the Khine, and kept the Im-
perialists at bay. When the agreement had been arranged between
Sweden and France, it was decided that Duke Bernard's troops
should be taken into the pay of the latter country ; and shortly
afterwards a junction was formed at Landau between Duke Ber-
nard's forces and the French troops, which were under the command
of Marshal de la Force and Sir John Hepburn. Duke Bernard
had only a small army, " but there were none save brave and ex-
perienced men in it ; and the officers were all soldiers of fortune,
who expected to raise their fame by the sword alone." The foot
consisted almost entirely of Scotsmen, and were all that remained
of the thirteen gallant regiments which had served so long and so
bravely under Gustavus. Among those veterans were the remnants
of Hepburn's own old regiment, and the one remaining company of
Mackay's Highlanders. " All greeted their old commander with
acclamation and joy, by beating the Scottish march as he approached,
while a deafening cheer rang along their sunburnt lines, and the
last solitary piper o/ MACKAY'S HIGHLANDERS blew long and loudly
a note of welcome on the great war pipe of the north ; and as they
all wished to ' take service ' under him in France, the whole were
incorporated into one corps, to be styled in future Le Regiment d'
Hebron."* . . . "It consisted of 3 field officers, viz.,
* Hepburn's name is spelled in this way in the French military records.
Mackay's Regiment 181
Colonel Sir John Hepburn, Lieutenant-Colonel Munro, and
Major Sir Patrick Monteith ; 45 captains ; 1 captain-lieutenant ;
45 lieutenants ; 48 ensigns ; 4 surgeons ; 6 adjutants ; 2 chaplains ;
1 drum-major ; 1 piper ; 88 sergeants ; 288 corporals ; 288
lance-pesades ; 96 drummers ; in all 48 companies, consisting of
150 musketeers and pikemen each making a grand total of
8116 men ; and forming altogether, when their experience and
valour, spirit, bearing, and splendour of equipment are considered,
one of the finest regiments that ever unfurled its banners in battle.
In itself it represented many other corps ; the Bohemian bands of
Sir Andrew Gray, all the Scottish regiments of Gustavus, and even
the Scottish Archer Guard of the French kings, to which venerable
body many of its officers belonged."*
The new regiment, by orders of the King, took precedence of all
others in the service of France. I shall mention one anecdote
Frequent quarrels and jealousies took place between Hepburn's
officers and the officers of a French regiment, known as that of
Picardy. The Picardy regiment had been raised in the year 1562,
and considered itself the oldest in the service of France. But Hep-
burn's Regiment, " in consequence of having had incorporated with
it some of the Scottish Archer Guard (which dated its origin to the
period of the eighth crusade, 1249-1270), considered its rights to
priority to be indisputable. This claim to antiquity the regiment of
Picardy treated with ridicule, as beiugsomewhat overstrained, and nick-
named Hepburn's corps Pontius Pilate's Guards, a sobriquet which
the First Regiment of Foot (the Royal Scots) retains at the present
day. On one occasion, after a sharp dispute, one of Hepburn's officers
said to an officer of the regiment of Picardy, " You must be mis-
taken, Sir ; for had we really been the guards of Pontius Pilate, and
done duty at the sepulchre, the Holy Body had never left it ! "
This was a keen and a sarcastic retort, implying that if the Scottish
sentinels had been there, they would not have slept at their posts,
whereas it was well known that the regiment of Picardy had been
guilty of such a serious military offence, t
I need not attempt to carry the story of Mackay's Regiment
further ; for, reduced to a single company, and embodied in a new
and mixed regiment, its individual characteristics were lost, and
as a separate corps it ceased to exist. But the services of the Regi-
ment are matters of history.
* Memoirs of Sir John Hepburn,
t Hepburn's Memoirs.
182 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
Munro has a few observations about it which, are worthy of
consideration. He says, the discipline and service of the Eegi-
meut were of so high a character that many that were trained in it
rose " from souldiers to be inferiour officers, and then for their
preferments and advancements " they left their old leaders, being
promoted to other regiments ;* " for having attained to a little
experience under this Regiment, they are now like the Eagles birds,
that how soon they can but flee, they take command on themselves,
and that most worthily, knowing it is ambition grounded upon
vertue, makes the meanest Souldier mount from the lowest centrie
[sentry] to the top of honour to be a Generall : as some of our
worthy Countrimen have done under the Crowne of Sweden, to
their eternall glory."
Again, he says, even their enemies " could not but duely
prayse them, calling them the Invincible old Regiment
so that Mackeyes name was very frequent through the glorious
fame of this never dying Regiment, never wrong'd by fortune in
their fame, though divers times by their enemies valour they sus-
tained both losse and hurt : But would to God, we had always met
man to man, or that our Army had consisted all of such men and
such officers, whereof I was the unworthiest ! If so had beene our
conquest had extended so farre as the Romanes of old did extend
the limits and borders of their Empire."
Of a different character is the following observation, with the
closing part of which, I am sure, all military commanders will
agree. From what Munro says, it will be seen that however
severely the Kegiment suffered during its many engagements, yet,
when in quarters, officers and men, as a rule, were very comfortably
off. " This Kegiment in nine yeeres . . . had ever good
lucke to get good quarters, where they did get much good wine,
and great quantity of good beere. . . . They were oft merry
with the fruits and juice of the best berries that grew in those
Circles ; for to my knowledge they never suffered either penury or
want, I being the Leader, but of times I did complaine and grieve at
their plenty, seeing they were better to be commanded, when they
dranke water, than when they got too much bee-re or wine."
But I must now return to le Regiment d' Hebron. Hepburn
* Among the " inferiour officers " who were advanced to other commands,
Munro mentions " Captaine Cfunne, Lievetenant Brumfield, Lievetenant Dum-
barre, Lievetenant Mackey, Lievetenant Southerland, Ensigne Denune, and
diverse more, which were preferred under Ruthven's Regiment."
Captain Gunn became afterwards Colonel of a Dutch Regiment, and was
knighted by King Charles I. for his bravery at the Brig of Dee.
Mackay's Regiment 183
unfortunately did not live to command it long. He was killed at
the battle of Saverne, on the 21st July, 1636. His fall was deeply
regretted by the whole army and Court of France, for he was looked
up to as " the best soldier in Christendom, and consequently in the
world." After his death, the Regiment was known as le Regiment
de Douglas, from the name of its new commander, Lord James
Though serving under foreign powers, these Scottish soldiers
of fortune were yet true to their own King and country. Thus,
in 1661, on the call of King Charles the Second, after the Restora-
tion, the remains of what had been Hepburn's Regiment came over
to England. They remained in Britain for eight years, when they
returned to France, and continued in the service of that country
till 1678, when they were again called home and incorporated with
the British Army. They are now known as the ROYAL SCOTS, or
First Regiment of Foot, and take precedence of all other regiments
of the line.* This is probably the oldest regiment in the world ;
for, having been partly formed from the Scottish Archers in the
service of France, it may be said to have been embodied for up-
wards of six hundred years ; and it certainly is one of the most
celebrated, for its records show that since the battle of Bauge, in
1421, at which it greatly distinguished itself (being then the body-
guard of the King of France), it has taken part in 228 battles and
sieges, exclusive of the later wars of the Crimea and India. " No
other regiment in the world can show such a roll of glory ! "t
I have thus narrated the principal services in which the Regi-
ment was engaged, from its formation by Sir Donald Mackay, the
first Lord Rcay, in 1626, to the time when it lost its identity as a
separate regiment, in 1635, by becoming a portion of le regiment d'
Hebron, in the service of France. I have also shown how the
successors of Hepburn's veterans became incorporated in the British
army, under the name of the ROYAL SCOTS ; and that the survivors
of the brave men who formed the " Old Invincibles" of Gustavus
* A portion of the Scots Guards in the service of France, were sent by the
King of that country to Scotland, in 1633, to be present at the coronation of King
Charles I. They remained in Britain about twelve years, when they returned to
France " and continued to serve there with little interruption, till 1678, when
they finally re-entered the British service." [Records of Royal Scots.} On re-
turning to France, these soldiers of the Scottish Guards were incorporated with
Hepburn's Regiment, but then known, however, as Douglas's, from the name of
its commander, as has been already stated. And from having served in Scotland
in 1633, as mentioned above, the Royal Scots data from that year in the Army
t Cassell's " British Battles."
184 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
Adolphus (that is Mackay's Highlanders)* constituted no incon-
siderable part of that celebrated regiment. Their whole service is
a record of which any nation may be proud, what then might be
said when their equipment was the work of one individual ?
The raising and transporting of so many men cost Lord Eeay
a very large sum of money ; and, unfortunately, by the untimely
death of the King of Sweden, he was not re-imbursed for the heavy
outlay he had incurred in his service. From first to last he sent
over to " the German wars " upwards of 5000 men, and Munro
says, " our noble Colonell did engage his estates, and adventured
his person " for the good cause. " Such was his sense of dignity,
that, it is said, he asked no money from the King to furnish his
troops till after their arrival in Germany ; and as the King was
killed soon after the last levies were sent, Lord Eeay himself had
to bear the loss of his outlays ; only he had the consolatory reflec-
tion that his loss was sustained in the best of causes. It was not
with a sordid view of gain that he undertook his expeditions,
for there was nothing sordid in his composition ; . . . .
but first from loyalty . . . and love of honour ; and after-
wards from a regard to the protestant religion, which he had pre-
viously conceived at home, and in Denmark, "f
To meet the debts he had thus contracted, he was obliged to
sell his lands in Eoss-shire and Caithness, and, saddest of all, the
district of Strathnaver. But there was no other way by which he
could get out of the difficulty, and so the lands had to go. No
one, so far as our country is concerned, did more for the cause of
liberty than the first Lord Eeay, and no clan shed more of its best
blood in the same cause than the Clan Mackav.
OFFICERS OF MACKAY'S REGIMENT.
The following list is made up from the various works consulted
in compiling the foregoing narrative, and consists of the names of
officers who served with the Eegiment from its formation in 1626,
to the battle of Nordlingen in 1634. It is, however, not quite
complete, as no record has been preserved of the names of many
of the junior officers.
* The author of the Characteristics of the Highland Soldiers, says of Mackay's
Regiment, while serving under Gustavus Adolphus, "they were his right hand
in battle, brought forward in all dangerous enterprises ; and they may, like him-
self, be said to have fallen in the field, and to have been buried with the honours
of vi*.r." History of the House and Clan of Mackay.
t History of the House and Clan of Mackay.
Mackay's Regiment 185
Munro, in his list of Scottish Officers that sewed under Gustavus
Adolphus, gives Field Officers only, and adds : " Diverse Captaines
and inferiour Officers of the Nation followed the Army
which I omit out of the List ; " while most others who have
written about the Scottish Soldier abroad, have been contented
with giving the names of a few of the leadirg officers only.
The list is arranged in two divisions. The first contains the
names of those officers whose rank in the Eegiment I have been
able to ascertain, the second those whose rank I have not been
able to find out ; and in both I have mentioned the rank to which
a number of the officers attained after quitting the Eegiment and
entering on other service. The two divisions combined, contain
the names of all officers who served in the Eegiment, whose names
are recorded, so far as I have been able to discover.
The Eegiment was quite a Military School. Numbers of gentle-
men, from all parts of the country, joined it as junior officers, for
the purpose of learning the art of war (and some also indeed served
in the ranks) ; but they left as soon as they believed they had
acquired sufficient skill, to take upon themselves the responsibilities
of a command. This accounts for so many names which are foreign
to the North of Scotland being found in the list.
Sir Donald Mackay, first Lord Eeay, Scorched by powder at Olden-
Eobert Monro (author of the Ex-
pedition), .... Wounded in various battles.
Lieutenant - Colonels.
Arthur Forbes (son of Lord Forbes), Died in Holstein.
Alexander Seton, Wounded at Oldenburg.
John Lindsay of Bainshaw, . . Killed at New Brandenburg.
' John Sinclair (son of the Earl of
Caithness), .... Killed at Neumarke.
William Stewart (brother of the
Earl of Traquair), . . . Wounded at Oldenburg.
James Dunbar, .... Killed at Bredenburg.
John Forbes of Tulloch, . . Killed at Nordlingen.
* The names, beginning with the Majors, are arranged alphabetically, and not
according to seniority.
186 Gaelic Society of Inverness,
John Forbes, .... Afterwards Colonel of Dutch.
William Keith, ....
David Munro, .... Scorched by powder at Eckern-
William Sennott, . . . Died of the Plague at Stettin.
Francis Sinclair (son of James of
Murkle), .... Afterwards a Lieut. -Colonel.
Armiss, , Wounded at Stralsund.
Beatoun, .... Wounded at Stralsund.
Boswell, .... Murdered by the Boors at
William Bruntsfield, . . . Afterwards Major in Ruthven's
Carmichael, .... Killed at Bredenburg.
Dumaine, .... Died at Frankfort.
Duncan Forbes, .... Killed at Bredenburg.
Adam Gordon, ....
William Gunn, .... Afterwards Colonel of a Dutch
Regiment, and Knighted
by King Charles I.
Alexander Hay, .... Afterwards Lieut. -Colonel of
George Heatley, .... Killed at Oberlin.
Robert Hume, ....
Patrick Innes, .... Killed at Nurnberg.
Robert Innes, .... Afterwards a Lieut.-Colonel.
William Kerr, .... Wounded at Eckernfiord.
John Learmonth (brother of Lord
Balcomy), .... Killed at Boitzenburg.
William Lumsden (the sole survivor
of the Massacre at Bredenburg),
Sir Patrick Mackay of Lairg, in
Galloway, .... Died of wounds received at
Mackay's Regiment 187
lye Mackay (son of William of Big-
William Mackay (son of Donald of
Scoury), .... Afterwards Lieut. -Colonel of
Swedes, and killed at
Thomas Mackenzie (brother of Earl
Seaforth), .... Wounded at Eckernfiord.
Moncreiffe, .... Killed at New Brandenburg.
Andrew Munro, .... Killed in a duel at Femern.
Hector Munro of Fowlis, who suc-
ceeded his brother, and was
made a Baronet, . . . Afterwards a Colonel of Dutch.
John Munro of Obisdell, . . Afterwards Colonel of a Scots
John Munro (commonly called
Assynt Munro), . . . Afterwards a Lieut. -Colonel.
Robert Munro of Fowlis, . . Afterwards Colonel of Swedes.
Nicholas Ross, ....
George Stewart, .... Afterwards Lieut. -Colonel of
Arthur Arbuthnott, . . . Wounded at Stralsund.
Barbour, .... Killed at Bredenburg.
Brumfield, .... Promoted in Ruthven's Regi-
D unbar, .... Promoted in Ruthven's Regi-
Keith, .... Killed at New Brandenburg.
James Lyell, .... Afterwards Captain in Ruth-
ven's Regiment, and mur-
dered in Westphalia.
Mackay, .... Promoted in Ruthven's Regi-
David Martin, .... Killed at Boitzenburg.
Hugh Ross, of Priesthill, . . Wounded at Oldenburg.
188 Gaelic Society of Inverness-
Andrew Stewart (brother of Earl of
Traquair), . . . . Died of wounds received at
Eobert Stewart, .... Afterwards a Colonel of Lums-
Sutherland, .... Promoted in Euthven's Eegi-
Patrick Dunbar, .... Wounded at Stralsund.
Denoon, .... Promoted in Euthven's Eegi-
Hadden, .... Killed at Kew Brandenburg.
John Rhode, ....
Scaton, .... Killed at Stralsund.
Officers wliose remit is not recorded.
Gavin Allan, ....
Eobert Farquhar, .... Afterwards Knighted by King
Arthur Forbes, . . ...
Hugh Gordon, . . ... Wounded at Oldenburg.
John Gordon, .... Afterwards Colonel of Dutch.
John Gordon, . . ,o4-Mi
George Gunn, . .
John Gunn, . . . .
John Innes (son of William of
Sandside), .... Killed at Stralsund.
Henry Lindesay, . . . . Afterwards Lieut. -Colonel in
Eobert Lumsden, .... Afterwards Lieut.-Colonel.
Hugh Mackay, ....
David Martin, .
Andrew Munro, . . . Killed at Oldenburg.
David Munro, . . . . Wounded at Oldenburg.
Farquhar Munro, .... Killed at Oldenburg.
Celtic Etymologies. 189
Officers whose rank is not recorded (continued).
Hugh Mowatt, ....
Hugh Murray, ....
Murdoch Poison, .... Killed at Oldenburg.
David Ross (son of Alexander of
Murdoch Mackenzie, . . . Afterwards Minister of Suddie,
And the Chaplain or " Preacher" who was slain at Bredenburg, but
whose name is not mentioned.
28TH MAY, 1879.
At this meeting Mr. Lachlan Macdonald of Skaebost, Skye,
was elected a life member ; and Mr. F. C. Buchanan, Armaclale
Row, Helensburgh, and Mr. Donald Ross, M.A., H.M. Inspector
of Schools, ordinary members.
The following paper by Mr. C. S. Jerram, M.A., Windlesham,
Surrey, was read :
The science by which the laws of language are regulated and
recorded, is called Comparative Philology, a young science as yet,
but one that is making rapid progress. It has been popularised in
this country mainly through the exertions of Professor Max Miiller,
to whose Lectures on the Science of Language especially I shall
have occasion to refer. The three great ' families ' (as they are
called) of human speech, are known as the Indo-European or Aryan,
the Semitic, and the Turanian ; it is with the first of these that we are
now concerned, because the Celtic languages are ascertained to belong
to it. Of the six or eight divisions under which the languages of
this great Aryan family have been arranged, the Celtic is further
sub-divided into Cymric and Gaedhelic ; the former division com-
prising Welsh, Breton, and the now extinct Cornish ; the latter,
Scotch and Irish Gaelic, and the dialect of the Isle of Man. The
important thing to bear in mind respecting all these Aryan lan-
guages is that, notwithstanding the differences that now exist
between these divers groups, and even between various languages
1 90 Gaelic Society of In verness.
of the same group, there must once have been a time, when (to
quote Max Miiller's words) "there was a small class of Aryans,
settled probably in the highest elevation of Central Asia, speaking
a language, not yet Sanscrit or Greek or German, but containing the
dialectic germs of all ; a clan that had advanced to a state of agri-
cultural civilization ; that had recognised the bonds of blood and
sanctioned the bonds of marriage ; and that invoked the Giver of
light and life in heaven by the same name which you may still
hear in the temples of Benares, in the basilicas of Home, and in
our own churches and cathedrals."
A great step was made towards the attainment of philological
truth when people began to recognise well regulated families, in-
stead of vaguely defined classes or groups of speech. Much time
and labour had previously been wasted in discussing the pretensions
of some one particular language to be the primitive speech of man-
kind. Because the Book containing the earliest records of the
human race was written in Hebrew, this was for a long time sup-
posed to be the oldest language in the world, from which it was
sought to derive all the rest. But as Leibnitz, one of the first op-
ponents of this theory, observes, "to call Hebrew the primitive
language is like calling branches of a tree primitive branches, or
like imagining that in some country hewn trunks could grow in-
stead of trees." Even in later, and, as might have been expected,
more enlightened times, the same notion has been revived ; and
some have varied it so far as to substitute Gaelic or Welsh for
Hebrew, or to maintain a philological relation between these lan-
guages and the Hebrew, though it belongs to a distinct family
the Semitic. To these last the words of Professor Ehys, in his
Lectures on Welsh Philology, p. 142, apply with some force. He
says : " Neither do literary ostriches of this class deserve to be
reasoned with, at any rate until they have taken their heads out of
the sand, and acquainted themselves with the history of the philo-
logical world since the publication of Bopp's Comparative Grammar.
It would in all probability be useless to tell them that Welsh has
nothing to do with Hebrew or any other Semitic tongue." We are
not here dealing with the question of the original common origin
of all languages, nor is it denied that, if we only go back far enough,
even all the three families of speech may have had a common
source. There are degrees of relationship in language ; nor does it
follow that because the signs of affinity are not now apparent,
therefore no such affinity ever existed. Only, in the present state
of our knowledge, we must not go to a Semitic root for the deriva-
tion of an Aryan word ; nor even if we happen to find two roots
Celtic Etymologies. 191
similar in sound and sense, but belonging to different families, can
we assume with any confidence that they are identical.
Hence we may lay down as our first great rule this : Never
trust implicitly any derivation which confounds the three fami-
lies of language, or any two of them. Such a derivation might
chance to be correct ; but in the present state of philological
science it would be difficult, if not impossible, to prove it. For in-
stance, if I want to find the cognates of the Gaelic words fear
1 man,' each ' horse,' bo ( cow,' I go to the other languages of the
Aryan family ; and I find for the first word the Sanscrit mra,
Latin vir, Gothic vair, Anglo.-Saxon icer ; for the second, Sanscrit
akva, old Greek ikkos (afterwards hippos], Latin equus ; for the
third. Greek bovs, Latin bos, Welsh bu, when the b represents an
original g, appearing in the Sanscrit go, and as Tc, c, in the High
German kuh, and our cow. Even supposing that roots or vocables,
similar in sound and meaning to the above, were discoverable in
Hebrew or Chaldee, I would not rush to the conclusion that these
were identical, but would at most admit the possibility of their
having been so at some remote and probably pre-historic period.
If on the other hand it were desired to find the etymology of some
distinctly Hebrew name (Methuselah, for instance), I should not go
(as a recent writer has done) to Irish Gaelic for a solution, but
rather seek in Hebrew itself, or in the cognate Semitic tongues, the
origin of a Semitic word.
Here I may observe, by way of a passing caution, that it is im-
portant in every case to ascertain whether the word under investi
gation does really belong to the language in which it appears, or
whether it has been imported into it from some other language,
which may possibly be a member of a distinct family. Max
Miiller has given four instances from the Hebrew Bible of words
which have been adopted from the Sanscrit, and are therefore
Aryan, not Semitic words. These are Tcoph ' apes' (Sanscrit kapi) ;
shen-habbim ' ivory,' the latter element being probably a corruption
of the Sanscrit ihha ' elephant ; ' tuTchiim ' peacocks,' from togei,
derived from Sanscrit 'sikhin ; and almug or algum, the name of a
tree, from Sanscrit (v}alguka. And of course we know that English,
Gaelic, and in fact all languages more or less, abound in terms which
are not so much derived as imported, with some alterations of form,
from other languages all over the world. These have been appro-
priately called ' loan-words,' to which we shall have occasion to refer
more particularly hereafter.
The next rule is this. Attend carefully to the laws which regu-
late the sequence of sound in different languages of the same family.
192 Gaelic Society of In verness.
In the Aryan family the formulae by which these changes are regis-
tered constitute what is known as ' Grimm's Law,' from the name
of its discoverer, Jacob Grimm. Its provisions are mainly these.
If the same word exists in Sanscrit, Greek and Latin, in old High
German, and in Low German, and if the first-named languages
shew a soft mute (B, G, D), the High German will have an aspir te
(F, CH, TH), and the Low German a hard mute (P, K, T).
.Again, if Sanscrit, &c., have a hard mute, High German will have
the corresponding soft mute, and Low German the corresponding
aspirate; and lastly, if the first division has an aspirate, the
second will have a hard, and the third a soft mute. The Celtic
languages fall, as a rule, under the first division with Greek, &c.
Old High German means modern literary German in its oldest
forms ; and English belongs to the Low German group of languages.
This law (which applies chiefly to initial consonants, medial ones
being liable to modification from surrounding influences) is less
simple in actual operation than at first sight appears ; owing to the
fact that the actual consonants I have named do not always occur,
but are represented by others. For instance, TH in High German
is uniformly represented by Z ; H, both in Latin and German, is
found to stand for CH, sometimes for F or V. Three or four illus-
trations will suffice to show the general working of the law. The
Latin duo, Gaelic da, Welsh dwy, is the High German zwei, English
two ; the Greek thugater is in German TocMer, in English daugh-
ter ; the Latin cor, Gaelic cridhe, is the German Herz, English
heart, where h represents g and ch respectively. Again, we have
English thou, German du, Latin, Greek, and Gaelic tu, and "Welsh
ti ; also English three, German drei, Gaelic and Welsh tri, and Latin
ires. Of course a knowledge of the history of a word, in the vari-
ous forms it has at different times assumed, is necessary before we
can employ Grimm's Law with any effect ; I am now insisting
merely on the importance of the law itself in all questions of
Aryan etymology. Many a plausible derivation, when tested by
it, may be proved to be impossible.
In speaking of " derivation," we must not forget the important
distinction between derived and cognate words. The former are of
necessity later in order of time than the words from which they
come. Such are French and Italian words, which have a Latin
origin ; these languages being (to return to the " families' " meta-
phor) daughters, not sisters, of the Latin, and sisters only to each
other. But cognate terms are like elder and younger sisters in a
family, and do not represent successive generations. All that I
have cited as instances of Grimm's Law, and hundreds more, are
Celtic Etymologies. 193
thus cognate ; each having once had a common representative term
in the primitive Aryan speech, before its dispersion. And, to be-
gin with, we must put all these languages upon an equality, as
regards age, and then see which language has preserved the largest
number of the oldest forms. In the case of a particular word,
sometimes one sometimes another of these languages may shew the
oldest form ; but this is no criterion for deciding the relative
antiquity either of a given language as a whole, or of other words
in it. This is a mistake which people often make, when compar-
ing cognate languages for etymological purposes. They think that
because a certain language (say Sanscrit or Gaelic) shews generally
signs of greater age than another (say Greek or German), therefore
any Sanscrit or Gaelic word must be older than the corresponding
Greek or German word. But this is by no means the case ; if it
were, the science of Comparative Philology would be very much
simpler than it is. We should not say, for instance, that as regards
the bulk of its vocabulary, Latin was an older language than Greek ;
yet it really is so, since it contains words and forms of inflexion
which have disappeared from classical Greek, and which once
existed in older dialects ; some even that are not found in the old-
est existing dialects. Thus the pronoun tu was the same in Doric
Greek, but afterwards became su ; the older k sound in kote and
lids (afterwards pote and pos) is preserved in the Latin quis, qui,
&c., the a still retained in sex, septem, sedeo has been softened away
to a mere aspirate in the Greek hex, hepta, hedo. Again, although
the Celtic languages as a whole shew undoubted signs of antiquity,
when compared with others of the Aryan family, the evidence of par-
ticular words points as clearly in the opposite direction. The
Latin piscis, English fish, according to Grimm's Law, appears in
Gaelic as iasy, in which the original consonant has entirely dis-
appeared. Here then the Gaelic form is later, not only than the
Latin, but even than the English. According to Zeuss' Grammatica
Celtica, the Irish prefix iol ' many ' is neither more nor less than
the Greek poly, and the German viel, and is therefore an instance
of the same phenomenon. These however are exceptional cases.
One great proof of the comparative antiquity of Gaelic, is that so
many of its vocables retain their original k sound, which in other
languages (even in the Welsh) has degenerated to qu, p, f, or still
further to t. The hard k sound requires the strongest effort to
pronounce it distinctly ; hence there is a tendency, first to ease
the articulation by the addition of u ( = w) as in qui, quando, and
other Latin words ; secondly, to labialise it to p ; or thirdly, to
let it degenerate to t, which is called ' dentalism.' Professor Geddes,
194 Gaelic Society of Inverness
in his Lecture on the Philologic Uses of the Celtic Tongue, gives
the following instances among others. Gaelic cas, Latin pes, Greek
pous, English foot. Gaelic ceithir, Latin quatuor, Greek pisures
(afterwards tessares), Welsh pedwar, English four. Gaelic co,
Latin quis, Welsh pa, Greek tis. Gaelic casad, English cough,
Welsh pas, Greek bex, Latin tussis. " Nay," adds the Professor,
" such is the fondness of Gaelic for the k sound, that it has intro-
duced it into words where it had no proper business from the first,
and when even Sanscrit and Latin refuse to follow it." He in-
stances Pascha and Pentecost, by the side of Casg and Caingis ;
also purpura and poena, which the Gaelic has turned into corcor
But it is not in words or roots alone that the evidence of com-
mon origin, or the affinity of one language to another, is to be
sought. Grammatical inflections are a far surer test, and the gram-
mar, not the dictionary, must be our guide in classification. The
Gaelic dative plural in -ibh would alone shew the affinity of the
language with Latin and Greek, when compared with forms like
tibi and sibi, the terminations in -ibus, and the old Homeric datives
such as kratere-phi, bie-phi, oches-phi, &c. By the same rule
English must always rank as a Teutonic language, whatever may
be the number of words it has borrowed from foreign sources. It
shews its relationship with German, for instance, by the -s of its
genitive case, by its -n plurals, by its past participles and old
infinitives in -en and -an, by its forms of comparison in -er and -est.
And it is the same with all other languages, if we apply the test
of grammar alone. But when we go to the vocabulary of a language,
we find a different state of things altogether. Take an English
dictionary, and see how many terms have been imported up to the
present time. Not to mention Latin and French derivations, which
now constitute the bulk of our language, we have a number of words
in common use, that have come to us from almost every country
in the world. The Chinese has given us tea, from Arabic we get
coffee, sugar, syrup, amber, saffron, almanack, and many more ;
from Persian bazaar, caravan, lilac, scarlet, and azure ; from Turk-
ish tulip and turban. The western world has supplied us with
tobacco, maiz^, potato, chocolate, &c. ; from Spain and Italy we
derive negro, mosquito, bandit, alligator, gazette. We are also
indebted to the Celtic language for many familiar terms ; to the
Welsh for basket, funnel, flannel, garter, gown, button, mop, pail,
pitcher, &c. ; to the Gaelic for reel, tartan, plaid, bard, clan, and
others now more or less naturalised in English speech. A Gaelic
dictionary abounds in words similarly imported, 'loan-words,' as
Celtic Etymologies. 195
we have called them. This would actually be the case, when the
language of a primitive people comes to be adopted to modern re-
quirements. To this class belong official terms, military, civil, and
ecclesiastical, as cbirneal, maidsear, caiptein, reisimeid ; parlamaid,
pri'onnsa, pobull, prwsan ; sagart, eaglais, easbuig, deireach ; besides
a host of common words of every-day life, which could have had
no Gaelic equivalents at a time when the things themselves were
unknown to a Gaelic speaking people. Such are piob (now, but
not always, the national instrument of Highland music), punnd,
peigldnn, peabar, sgoil, sgri.oUur, seomhar, peanas, peann, pearsa,
peula, picill, pioc, ughdair, ceinneag, uinnean, &c., picked almost at
random out of the Gaelic dictionary. It will be noticed how many
of these words begin with the letter P ; this is in accordance with
the above mentioned tendency of Gaelic, to discard the labial or
P sounds in favour of the guttural or K sounds. I may observe
by the way, that besides the word corcor, which I cited from
Professor Geddes' Lecture, as an instance of this tendency, the
Gaelic also has purpur, the stem of the Latin purpura, without
alteration. Occasionally we find ' loan-words ' so far transformed,
as to present the appearance of genuine Gaelic vocables ; as senna-
lair, which is general in disguise, but looks like a compound of sean
' old.' Seanadh for senate is a similar instance ; but here the fact
of sean being really cognate with the Latin root sen in sen-ex, &c.,
increases the deception. It would be difficult to account for the
peculiar form buntata ' potato,' except as owing to the influence of
bun ' root,' whether the rest of the word be from taghta l choice '
(as has been asserted), or not. At any rate the Gaelic form (omit-
ting the n) comes nearer to the original batata, than potato does.
But in the form ' buutata ' (on the above hypothesis) we have an
instance of that universal tendency to give an intelligible sense to
a word of foreign inhabitation, and make it speak, as it were, to
some eifect in its new domicile. It is in fact the same impulse
which led English sailors to transform Bellerophon into ' Billy
Ruffian,' and Hirondelle into ' Iron iJevil,' and according to which
a certain groom is said to have turned the names of a horse and a
mare, Othello and Desdemona, into ' Old Fellow ' and ' Thursday
The Welsh language, as well as the Gaelic, contains a large
number of these ' loan words,' of various dates and from various
sources. I will quote only a few, as esgob from epincoptis, clerig
from clericus, abad from abbas, pris ' price,' ffafr ' favour,' top
'top,' tasg ' task,' cnol ' knoll,' cnwb ' knob,' ffermwr l farmer,'
foiled ' folly,' ffwrnais 'furnace;' also many beginning with >ja
196 Gaelic Society of Inverness,
representing the Latin s followed by a consonant, as yslryd from
spiritus, ysgol from schola, ysgrif from scribere. Some of these (as
ffermiur, ffwrnais, &c.) are mere transliterations into Welsh spelling,
so as to preserve the sound as nearly as possible ; just as later Greek
historians transformed the Eoman names Vitellius, Quartus, &c.,
in Ouitellios, Kouartos, &c.
In speaking of the principal divisions of the Aryan family, at
the beginning of this paper, I mentioned the Manx language as one of
the Celtic group, and cognate with Gaelic. Philologically Manx is
of less importance than either Gaelic or Welsh ; first, because it
contains a much larger proportion of foreign importations, chiefly
from the Norse and other Scandinavian languages ; and, secondly,
because the etymology of its vocables is obscured, to the eye at
least, by the phonetic system of orthography which it has for a
long time adopted. Uncertainty as to the right spelling of a word
is a fertile source of etymological confusion. This appears in the
constant, and often fruitless, controversy that goes on about the
derivation of place-names ia Scotland and elsewhere. Could we be
sure, for instance, what was the original Gaelic form of Glasgow,
we should know whether it came from Glas-gobha ' the white or
grey smith,' or from Clais-dhu ' the dark ravine,' or from Eaglais-
dliu ' the black church,' or something quite different from these.
Or does the name of the Highland capital really mean ' cascade-
river-confluence' (Inbhir-an-eas), as Colonel Eobertson would have us
believe ] The Anglicised form Ness does not help us at all to
decide the question. So in Manx, who would recognise the icritten
words Ree, Chiran, Oilly-niartal as righ, Tighearn, uille-neartail,
with which they really correspond 1 Yet that Manx is cognate,
almost identical, with Gaelic will readily appear. Let us take as a
specimen for comparison part of the Lord's Prayer, which runs
thus in Manx " Ayr ain t' ayns niau ; casherick dy row t' ennym.
Dy jig dty reeriaght. Dt' aigney dy row jeant er y thalloo, myr ti
ayns niau. Cur dooin nyn arran jiu as gagh laa. As leih doom
nyn loglityn, myr ta shin leih dauesyn ta jannoo loghtyn nyn 'oi."
In this extract the italicised words represent in order the Gaelic
athair, neamh, coisrigte, ainm, thig, rwghachd, deanta, talamh,
cuir, duinn, aran, diugh, gach Id, lochd, sin, deanamh. If
besides these aigney and leih represent gean and leig respectively
(as seems probable), every important part of speech will have its
equivalent form in Gaelic ; and not only these but smaller words,
such as ayns (anns), dy (do), as (agus), &c., are similarly repre-
sented. Hence, for purely philological purposes, Gaelic vocables
are in most cases amply sufficient to work with.
Celtic Etymologies. 197
In the foregoing examples, selected from the principal languages
of the Celtic group, I have endeavoured to illustrate the important
distinction between cognate and derived (or berroiced) words. The
latter, when stripped of the disguises they often wear, are compara-
tively easy to detect ; the former may tax the philologer's utmost
resources for their identification, and in the present state of the
science there must often be room for doubt. It is to these that
the rules and formulae of ' Grimm's Law ' apply, nor can we reach
any certain conclusions in etymology, if we neglect the study of
' sound-lore,' and of the history and chronology of the words we
My third and last rule is not so much a distinct principle, as a
necessary consequence of the preceding considerations. It is, how-
ever, important enough in itself to be stated separately thus
Never trust mere similarity in the sound or form of words, unless
the connexion between them can be historically supported. The dis-
regard of this rule has always been a fertile source of error to the
etymologist. It seems so very simple, when we find two words
very much alike in form, and perhaps in sense also, to conclude that
they have a common origin or derivation ; whereas this is often
far from being the case. Such an assumed connexion is at best a
mere guess, quite as likely to be wrong as right ; and even if acci-
dentally right, it is of no scientific value, till it has been proved by
the proper tests. Before such a science as Comparative Philology
existed, there was no other way of going to work. Thus the
ancients, ignorant of the history of their own language, suggested
most absurd derivations ; such as Apollo, from the negative prefix
a and polus ' many ', because there was only one sun in the
universe ; or ao, ' I breathe,' from its component letters Alpha and
Omega, because breathing is the first and last operation of our
lives ! Others were given, which, if not positively absurd, yet can-
not be proved correct, as coslum from koilon, a hollow vault ;
calamitas from calamus, ' a stalk,' as if it were originally a disease
of corn, &c., &c. What is more plausible than to connect call
with the Greek kal-eo, with which it is identical in sense and sound 1
But in fact these two words are too much alike to admit of the con-
nexion, since by Grimm's law, a Low German (English) c or k
must have a corresponding g in Greek, and the real Greek cognates
of call are (by variation of the liquids I and r), ger-us ' a voice,' and
geruein ' to cry.' On the other hand, to take an instance of deri-
vation, who would suspect the French yeux to be a lineal descendant
of the Latin oculus, with which it has not a single* letter in common ?
* The u in yeux is not the u in oculus. The latter (see above) was dropped
out, the former is the regular representative of the Latin o.
198 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
And yet every step in the process can be traced with certainty.
Thus, ocuhis became oclus, whence old French oil, euil, ieul. The
plural was ieuls, then (by dropping the 1) ieiis or yens, of which
yeux is merely a variation. These two instances will serve as well
as a hundred, and shew the danger of resting any etymological
argument upon sound or form alone.
Few languages have suffered as much as the Gaelic at the hands
of imperfect or incompetent etymologists. Though it may seem
paradoxical to say so, I think that the wide-spread interest in the
subject, among Gaelic-speaking people, has largely contributed to
this result. " It is astonishing," says Dr. MacLauchlan, in his
Celtic Gleanings (p. 128), " how much time a gathering of High-
landers will spend in discussing the etymology of a name. It is
generally thought that for this kind of study any man possessing
ordinary knowledge of the Gaelic language is amply qualified, and
that a little twisting or untwisting of words, which any man can
accomplish, is all that is necessary to bring forth a satisfactory
result." What, for instance, are we to think of such derivations
as these, which have been gravely put forward in an elaborate work
on the Gaelic Etymology of the Languages of Western Europe ?
Obelisk from ob ' serpent ' and leigh (leac ?) ' stone ; ' potato from
bim taghta l choice root ;' general from seanfhaireil ' watchful old
man ;' Paradise from beure (?) deise (deiseil ?) ' southward garden ;'
canopy from ceann-bhrat l head-covering ; ' and last (but not least)
Hyde Park from ait pair c 'joyful enclosure ! ! ' Taking the above
in order, except the last, which is unworthy of serious notice, we
find (1) Obelisk, a pure Greek word obeliskos, a diminutive of obelos
1 a spit,' hence applied to a pointed pillar (2) Potato, a West
Indian word, the Gaelic form of which, buntata, I have already
noticed as probably owing to the influence of bun ' a root,' but in
no sense derived from it (3) General, from the Latin generalis,
the adjective of genus, ' belonging to a class ; ' hence the head of
a class, or chief part of anything, as of an army (4) Paradise, from
paradeisos, the Greek form of an original Persian word meaning a
park or pleasure ground (5) Canopy, from French canape, was in
old French conope, a direct derivation of conopeum, Greek konopeion,
( a mosquito-curtain,' from honops ' a gnat ' or ' mosquito.' Again,
there is no possible doubt as to the derivation of careme ' Lent '
(old French caresme) from quadragesima, which conveys its own
meaning with it ; what need then to go to Gaelic for such a far-
fetched explanation as cathreim, " order of battle against the lusts
of the flesh V I am told that the book abounds in similar absurdi-
ties, though I cannot vouch for the fact from personal observation.
Celtic Etymologies. 199
I am compelled to notice them in a paper as ' Celtic Etymologies,'
not, I am sure, in a spirit of hostility to the author (for whom I
entertain sincere respect on account of the good work he has done
in other fields of literature), but because I feel that such wild
theories as these, if widely promulgated, must only bring contempt
upon Celtic studies generally, and alienate real scholars, who might
otherwise be disposed to lend a helping hand. Many people are
only too ready to ridicule all attempts that are made in this direc-
tion, and I regard it as most unfortunate that really vulnerable
points should have been exposed at the present time by any who
have Celtic interests at heart, and who are foremost in their
endeavours to promote them.
It is a pleasure to turn to another part of the same author's
work, in which he traces many of our slang and cant expressions to
a Celtic source. Many of these are doubtless very odd, and may
be supposed to date from a period preceding that of the various
Teutonic immigrations into these islands. Twig, for instance, in
the sense of ' understand,' may without any forcing be referred to
the Gaelic tuig, until historical evidence be produced to the con-
trary. Balderdash is surely identical with the Welsh baldorddus,
1 idle prattle,' though this word has also its cognates in the Dutch,
Flemish, and other Teutonic languages. This is a mine which is
altogether worth working, and I should be glad to see it completely
and satisfactorily done by some competent scholar. From the
same hand appeared an interesting paper in the Celtic Magazine
for December, 1875, the object of which was to trace many of
the choruses and refrains of popular songs to a Celtic and
Druidical origin. Though it may be impossible at this distance
of time to furnish strictly historical and chronological proof of
the alleged facts, there is still a high degree of probability, based
on the remote antiquity of the Druids in many parts of Europe,
and their known custom of " marching round the inner circle of
their rude temples, chanting hymns in honour of the sunrise, the
noon, and the sunset ; hymns which have not been wholly lost to
posterity, though posterity has failed to understand them." Such
refrains, for instance, as Lillibulero, Down deri^y down, Trimgotrix,
La farira donde, &c., do seem to be something " more than mere
nonsense words that went glibly off the tongue," though few will
see the necessity of referring simpler ones like tra la la, rum te
turn, &c., to a more recondite origin. These are mere combinations
of consonants and melodious vowels, which any one trying to sing
a tune without words would naturally produce. For the examples
themselves (especially bullen a la = buille na la ' stroke or dawn of
day'), I must refer you to the paper in the Celtic Magazine.
200 x- Gaelic Society of Inverness.
An attempt has also been made to derive names in classical
mythology from Celtic originals. Many of these may certainly have
cognate Celtic forms ; but cognation and derivation are two very
different things, as I have already explained. Some apparently
Greek names are foreign words in a. Greek dress, as Apollo, Hera,
Hermes, and possibly Aphrodite. This last may be an instance of
an original form (probably Phoenician), varied so as to give it a
meaning in Greek, as if from aphros ' foam ' ; but -it is likely that
the legend of the ' foam-born goddess ' is posterior to the name
Aphrodite ; at least it is not found in Homer. So the form of the
name Apollo points to the meaning ' Destroyer,' from apollumi
' I destroy j' but its real derivation is uncertain. Xow if in any
such case a cognate root be found to exist in Gaelic, it is well to
note the .fact, but it will not do to assume without proof, that the
Gaelic is the original or the oldest form. For instance the termi-
nation -taur in centaur is unquestionably related to the Gaelic
tarbh and the Welsh tarw ' a bull,' and Ur-dnus (Greek ourdnos},
if it be rightly referred to the root or, in the verb ornumai ' I rise,'
may have a cognate root in the Gaelic ur ' early,' not to mention
other instances of the same kind. But when you take a plain
Greek participial form like Harpuiai, or Greek substantives like
Chaos ' a void space,' or Penelope from penos ' a web,' or Zephyrus
from zoplios ' the dark (western) land,' and refer these to a Celtic
origin, you go against established historical facts, about which there
is not the slightest room for doubt. The most reprehensible feature
in these theories is, that their authors wilfully abandon certainties
for speculations, which need never have been made at all. In a
case of doubtful etymologies, the possibility of a given word being
derived from a Celtic source should by all means be taken into
account, and properly investigated ; but when the fact is well
known, and has been already settled beyond dispute, it is hard
to see what can be the object of re-opening the question at a later
time of day. Such theories neither deserve discussion nor demand
respect, since they are not even professedly founded on any
scientific basis ; rather they assert themselves in defiance of ascer-
tained principles and laws. The process is something of the fol-
lowing kind Given a number of words, which you believe, or
desire to make out, to be of Celtic origin, take a Gaelic dictionary
and select words, or combinations of words, as similar as possible
in sound to those under investigation, and draw your conclusions
accordingly. A little ingenuity is then all that will be required to
establish the connexion of meaning, and the operation is completed.
I will conclude with a few miscellaneous examples of erroneous
Celtic Etymologies. 201
derivations from the Gaelic, which I have noted, at different times,
in various publications. I shall not name the authors ; indeed they
are for the most part unknown to me.
1. MiorWieul ' miracle ' has been said to be compounded of meur
and Bel, i.e. ' God's finger ! ' To say nothing of the unwarrantable
identification of the Phrenician Bel or Baal with the true God, the
word is obviously a loan word from the Latin mirabilis, like sagart
from sacerdos, deiscobul from discipulus, oifeag from officium, and
2. Senator from sean athair 'old father.' Here the first syllable
sen is of course cognate with sean, and the Welsh hen ' old,' but the
remainder of the word is a Latin verbal noun ending, and can have
nothing to do with athair.
3. Text from teagasg ' teaching.' It is from the Latin textus
1 woven,' and meant first ' woven substance ' (as of cloth) ; then the
' substance ' of a book, as distinguished from the notes ; and lastly
was applied to the words of the Bible itself as contrasted with the
commentary thereon, especially a small detached portion serving as
the theme for a discourse ; whereas teagasg is either a late word de-
rived from teach, or else related in the usual way to the Greek
di-dask-o and the Latin doceo.
4. The new fashionable term rink has been referred to the
Gaelic rinceadh ' dancing.' This is at first sight plausible, but the
history of the word seems to be against it. Rink, in various forms,
is found in nearly all Teutonic languages. It first meant ' striving '
or ' contention ; ' hence the ring or arena of battle. Thus Gawin
Douglas, the old Scottish translator of Virgil has the line
' They wan (came) near to the renkin end,'
i.e. the end of the course. The word rink appears to have been
taken to Canada by Scotch emigrants along with the game of
curling, and to have been afterwards used of skating also ; it
originally meant not a dance, but a floor or arena, which might be
used for dancing or other similar purposes.
5. Demesne from demeas-ne 'not of assessment' (?), i.e., land
free from tax, doomsday from do-meas-deigh ' enquiry of assess-
ment' (?), and alderman from ildor-man 'the chief person at the
great gate' (]). Of these I confess myself unable to make anything
at all, but they appeared in a book published at Liverpool some
three years ago. The Saturday Review, in its critique upon this
work, made some general observations on the popular state of mind
with regard to philology, which are well worth quoting. " Why,"
they ask, " is an absurdity in physical science so much more
'20'2 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
generally recognised as such, than an absurdity in history or philo -
logy 1 There is this difference in the position of the two studies
many people, without having gone far into the study of Astronomy,
have got elementary ideas of it, which are correct as far as they go.
Such people recognise an absurdity within their own range of
knowledge as readily as an astronomer does. But with regard to
history or philology, few are in this exact state of mind. The
notion (for instance) that a purely Semitic name may be referred
to a Celtic origin,* does not seem so absurd to them, as the notion
that the sun goes round the earth. And in a sense they are right ;
it is equally wrong, but not equally absurd. Philological proposi-
tions are not capable of rigid mathematical demonstrations. A man
sees that astronomy is not a matter of guessing ; but because philo-
logy is not capable of the same rigid proof, he thinks that it is a
matter of guessing, and that his guess is as likely to be right as
that of another man. Hence in philological matters the right thing
does not get the same undoubting acceptance, as in matters of
physical science. Anything that has a learned air will impose upon
people, and the wrong thing has often quite as learned an air as
the right one. As for the particular etymologies (we have been
considering) a philologer will stop to discuss them, when an
astronomer stops to discuss the theory that the moon is made of
Let me conclude with a few words by way of caution. The
science of Comparative Philology is not old ; the study of Celtic,
from a philological point of view, is quite modern. There is there-
fore much danger of its being misapplied and misdirected at the
present time. Comparatively few scholars have as yet made them-
selves acquainted with either the grammar or literature of the Celtic
languages. On the other hand, few native Celts have had time or
opportunity to study the latest results of philological research.
But, as the student who has no practical knowledge of Welsh or
Gaelic, must find himself constantly at fault from ignorance of
simple facts, about which any native could inform him, so no
amount of practical knowledge will suffice, without an acquaintance
with the principles on which philology as a science is based. Above
all, let us beware of a misguided enthusiasm, that seeks not the
verification of facts, so much as the establishment at all hazards
of a preconceived theory. It is no question of nationality with
which we have to deal, and it is a false patriotism that would exalt
family or nation at the expense of truth. What we want is
intelligent combination ; the union of Celt and Teuton, Sassenach
* I substitute this instance for the one given in the original article.
Celtic Etymologies. 203
and Gael, in the one honest endeavour to find out the facts under
the guidance of sound principles. Let us then take for our motto
the famous saying of Aristotle, when he felt himself compelled to
dissent from the philosophic system of his master, which has been
thus preserved to us in a Latin version " Amicus Plato, magis
MEMBERS OF THE SOCIETY.
Sir Kenneth S. Mackenzie of Gairloch, Bart.
Professor John Stuart Blackie, Edinburgh University.
Charles Eraser-Mackintosh of Drummond, M.P.
Duncan Davidson of Tulloch.
Burgess, Peter, factor for Glenmoriston, Dramnadrochit.
Chisholm-Gooden, James, 33 Tavistock Square, London.
Cluny Macpherson of Cluny Macpherson.
Forbes, Alexander, 143 West Regent Street, Glasgow.
Eraser, Alexander, 16 Union Street, Inverness.
Eraser-Mackintosh, Charles, of Drummond, M.P.
Macdonald, Lachlan, of Skaebost, Skye.
Mackay, Donald, Gampola, Kandy, Ceylon.
Mackay, George F., Roxburgh, Otago, New Zealand.
Mackay, James, Eoxburgh, Otago, New Zealand.
Mackay, John, C.E., Swansea.
Mackenzie, Sir Kenneth S., of Gairloch, Bart.
Mackenzie, Allan R., yr. of Kintail, Leys Castle, Inverness.
Scobie, Captain N., Fearn, Ross-shire.
Anderson, James, solicitor, Inverness.
Black, Rev. Dr., Inverness.
Blackie, Professor John Stuart, Edinburgh University.
Bourke, Very Rev. Canon, Kilcolman, Claremorris, Mayo.
Buchan, Dr. Patrick, Stouehaven.
Burgess, Alexander, Caledonian Bank, Gairloch.
Cameron, Donald, of Clunes, Inverness.
Cameron, Ewen, manager of the Hong-Kong and Shanghai Banking
Company, at Shanghai.
206 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
Cameron, James Randal, Jacksonville, Oregon.
Campbell, George Murray, Gampola, Ceylon.
Chisholm, Captain A. Maura, Glassburn, Strathglass.
Davidson, Donald, solicitor, Inverness.
Davidson, Duncan, of Tullocb, Koss-shire.
Ferguson, Mrs., 6 Charles Street, Lowndes Square, London.
Fraser, A. T. F., clothier, Church Street, Inverness.
Eraser, Huntly, Kinrnyles, Inverness.
Grant, John, Cardiff, Wales.
Grant, General Sir Patrick, G.C.B., Chelsea, London.
Grant, Robert, of Messrs. Macdougall & Co., Inverness.
Grant, Major W., Drambuie, Glen-Urquhart.
Lines, Charles, solicitor, Inverness.
Jenkins, R, P., solicitor, Inverness.
Jerrarn, C. S., M.A., Woodcote House, Windlesham.
Jolly, William, H.M. Inspector of Schools, Albyn Place, Inverness.
Krause, Fritz, Waverley Hotel, Inverness.
Macandrew, H. C., sheriff-clerk, Inverness-shire.
Macdonald, Alexander, Balranald, Uist.
Macdouald, Allan, solicitor, Inverness.
Macdonald, Andrew, solicitor, Inverness.
Macdonald, Bailie, Aberdeen.
Macdonald, Captain D. P., Ben-Nevis Distillery, Fort- William.
Macdonald, John, Marine Hotel, Nairn.
Macdonell, Patrick, Kinchyle, Dores.
Macfarquhar, John, M.A., Inverness.
Macgregor, Rev. Alex., M.A., Inverness.
Mackay, Charles, LL.D., Fern Dell Cottage, near Dorking.
Mackay, Donald, San Francisco, California.
Mackay, John (of Ben Reay) Meadowbank, Fortrose.
Mackay, John Stuart, San Francisco, California.
Mackay, Neil, Penylan House, Pencoed, Bridgend, Wales.
Mackenzie, Rev. A. D., Free Church, Kilmorack.
Mackenzie, Colonel Hugh, of Parkmount, Forres.
Mackenzie, John, M.D., of Eileanach, Inverness.
Mackenzie, Osgood H., of Inverewe, Poolewe.
Mackenzie, Major Thomas, 78th Highlanders, Poona, India.
Mackenzie, Thomas, Broadstone Park, Inverness.
Mackintosh of Mackintosh, Moyhall.
Mackintosh, .Angus, of Holme.
Mackintosh, Eneas W., of Raigmore.
Mackintosh, P. A., C.li., Bridgend, Glamorgan.
Macphersou, Colonel, of Glentruim, Kingussio.
Macrae, D. A., Monar, by Beauly.
Macrae, Ewen (of Ardtulloch. Australia), Ardintoul, Lochalsli.
Menzies, John, Caledonian Hotel, Inverness.
2s T icolson, Angus, late editor of The Gael, Glasgow.
O'Hara, Thomas, inspector of National Schools, Portarlington,
Reidhaven, Lord, Balmacaan, Glen-TJrquhart.
Ross, Rev. William, Rothesay.
Scott, Roderick, solicitor, Inverness.
Seaficld, the Right Hon. the Earl of, Castle Grant.
Shaw, A. Mackintosh, Secretary's Office, G.P.O., London.
Small, James, of Dirnanean, Pitlochry.
Stewart, John, Duntulm, Skye.
Stoddart, Evan, Mudgee, N.S. Wales, Australia.
Sutherland, Alexander, Taff Brae Cottage, Cefn, Merthyr-TydviL
Sutherland- Walker, Evan Charles, of Skibo.
Wilson, P. G., Inverness.
Baillie, Peter, Inverness.
Bain, Wm., " Courier " Office, Inverness.
Bannatyne, William Mackinnon, Stirling.
Barclay, John, accountant, Inverness.
Barren, James, " Courier " Office, Inverness.
Bisset, Rev. Alexander, R. C., Stratherrick.
Black, George, banker, Inverness.
Buchanan, F. C., Helensburgh.
Cameron, Miss M. E., of Innseagan, Fort-William.
Cameron, A. H. F., of LakeMd, 2 Shield Road, Liverpool*
Cameron, Rev. Alex., Glengarry.
Cameron, Archibald, Glenbair, Kintyre.
Cameron, Donald, of Lochiel, M. L*.
Cameron, D., velocipede maker, Dempster Gardens, Inverness.
Cameron, H. E., dunes, Lochaber.
Campbell, Alexander, supervisor, Kyleakin, Skye.
Campbell, D. A., builder, Inverness.
Campbell, Donald, draper, Bridge Street, Inverness.
Campbell, Fraser (of Fraser and Campbell), High Street, Inverness.
Campbell, George J., solicitor, Inverness.
Campbell, Paul, shojmakor, Bridge Street, Inverness.
Campbell, A. D., Kirkintilloch.
Campbell, T. D. (of Cuniuiiug and Campbell), Xess Bank, Inverueii.
208 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
Cannichael, A. A., Inland Eevenue, Oban.
Carroll, Dr. William, 617 South 16th Street, Philadelphia.
Carruthers, "Walter, Gordonville, Inverness.
Charleson, Hector, Railway Refreshment Rooms, Forres.
Chisholm, Alpin, 21 Castle Street, Inverness.
Chisholm, Archibald, sheriff-clerk depute, Inverness.
Chisholm, Colin, Namur Cottage, Inverness.
Chisholm, Simon, Flowerdale, Gairloch.
Clunas, James, Nairn.
Colvin, John, solicitor, Inverness.
Cooper, William, Highland Railway, Inverness.
Cran, John, Kirkton, Inverness.
Crawford, D., Otterferry.
Gumming, James, Allanfearn, Inverness.
Dallas, Alexander, town-clerk, Inverness.
Davidson, Andrew, sculptor, Inverness.
Davidson, John, grocer, Inglis Street, Inverness.
Davidson, Lachlan, banker, Kingussie.
Dott, Donald, Caledonian Bank, Lochmaddy.
Douglas, Wm., Aberdeen Town and County Bank, Inverness.
Duncan, John M., " Annandale Advertiser."
Falconer, Peter, plasterer, Inverness.
Fergusson, Charles, Ballymacool, Letterkenny, Ireland.
Fergusson, Robert, Raploch, Stirling.
Fergusson, D. H., Pipe-Major, I.H.R.V., Inverness.
Finlayson, Simon, commercial traveller, 3 Jamaica Street, Glasgow.
Forbes, Dr. G. F., of the Bombay Army, Viewfield House, Inverness.
Forbes, Duncan, of Culloden.
Forsyth, Ebenezer, " Inverness Advertiser " Office, Inverness.
Forsyth, John H., wine merchant, Inverness.
Forsyth, W. B., of the " Inverness Advertiser," Inverness.
Fraser, ^neas (Innes and Mackay), Inverness.
Fraser, Alexander, solicitor, Inverness.
Fraser, Andrew, builder, Inverness.
Fraser, Andrew, cabinetmaker, Union Street, Inverness.
Fraser, A. R., British Linen Company Bank, Stirling.
Fraser, D., Glenelg.
Fraser, Donald, solicitor, Nairn.
Fraser, Hugh, inspector of poor, Inverness.
Fraser, Hugh, Balloch, Culloden.
Fraser, Hugh C., Haugh, Inverness.
Fraser, George, Royal Bank, Inverness.
Fraser, Wm. (Gunn and Grant), Castle Street, Inverness.
Fraser, James, commission agent, Lombard Street, Inverness.
Eraser, James, C.E., Inverness.
Fraser, James, Mauld, Strathglass.
Fraser, James, manufacturer, 41 North Albion Street, Glasgow.
Fraser, Rev. John, Free Church Manse, Kosskeen.
Fraser, Miss, Farraline Villa, North Berwick.
Fraser, Simon, 75 Huntly Street, Inverness.
Fraser, William, 51 Tomnahurich Street, Inverness.
Galloway, George, chemist, Inverness.
Gillies, H. C., 52 Cromwell Street, Glasgow.
Gillanders, John, teacher, Denny.
Glass, C. C., North Street, St. Andrews.
Grant, James, M.A., Register House, Edinburgh.
Grant, Rev. J., E. C. Manse, Kilmuir, Skye.
Gunn, Wm., draper, Castle Street, Inverness.
Hood, Andrew, commercial traveller, 39 Union Street, Inverness.
Hood, Miss, 39 Union Street, Inverness.
Joass, W. C., architect, Dingwall.
Kennedy, Neil, Kishorn, Lochcarron.
Kerr, Thomas, Caledonian Bank, Inverness.
Livingstone, Colin, Fort- William.
Macbean, Charles, writer, 42 Union Street, Inverness.
Macbean, George, 42 Union Street, Inverness.
Macbean, James, 77 Church Street, Inverness.
Macbean, Lachlan, " Fifeshire Advertiser " Office, Kirkcaldy.
Macaskill, D., saddler, Dun vegan.
Macdonald, Alexander, messenger-at-arms, Inverness.
Macdonald, Alexander, flesher, New Market, Inverness.
Macdonald, Donald, farmer, Culchraggie, Alness.
Macdonald, Donald, painter, Inverness.
Macdonald, Donald, Englishton, Bunchrew.
Macdonald, Finlay, Druidag, KintaiL
Macdonald, Hugh, 2 Petty Street, Inverness.
Macdonald, John, banker, Buckie.
Macdonald, blacksmith, Invergarry.
Macdonald, John, Ballifeary, Inverness.
Macdonald, John, gamekeeper, Dunphail.
Macdonald, John, 35 Tavistock Terrace, Upper Holloway, London, N.
Macdonald, John, live stock agent, Inverness.
Macdonald, John, merchant, Exchange, Inverness.
Macdonald, John (Innes & Mackay), Inverness.
Macdonald, R. A., Ullinish, Skye.
Macdonald, Dr. William, Inverness.
210 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
Macdonald, "William, Hilton Tillage, Inverness.
Macdonald, William, contractor, Badcall, Glen-Urquhart.
Macdonald, Murdo, Row House, by Doune, Pitlochry.
Macdonell, F. D., Hastings, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand.
Macdougall, Donald, Craggan, Grantown.
Macgillivray, Finlay, solicitor, Inverness.
Macgillivray, John, grocer, Academy Street, Inverness.
Macgillivray, William, clerk, Castle Street, Inverness.
Macgillivray. William, innkeeper, Kingussie.
Macgregor, Donald, 42 Glassford Street, Glasgow.
Macgregor, John, hotelkeeper, Invermoriston.
Macgregor, Kev. Malcolm, F.C. Manse, Ferrintosh.
Machardy, Robert, 8 Church Street. Inverness.
Maciver, Duncan, Church Street, Inverness.
Maciver, Finlay, carver, Church Street, Inverness.
Macintyre, Donald, schoolmaster, Arpafuelie.
Mackay, Alexander, builder, Academy Street, Inverness.
Mackay, Charles, builder, Culduthel Road, Inverness.
Mackay, D. J., solicitor, Inverness.
Mackay, John G., 158 Plantation Street, Glasgow.
Mackay, William, solicitor, Church Street, Inverness.
Mackay, William, bookseller, High Street, Inverness.
Mackenzie, A. S., 4 Upper Porchester Street, Hyde Park, London.
Mackenzie, Alexander, editor, " Celtic Magazine," Inverness.
Mackenzie, Alexander, wine merchant, Church Street, Inverness.
Mackenzie, Alexander, architect, 251 St. Vincent Street, Glasgow.
Mackenzie, A. C., teacher, Maryburgh, Dingwall.
Mackenzie, Andrew, ironmonger, Alness.
Mackenzie, C. D., 102 Linthorpe Road, Middlesboro'-on-Tees.
Mackenzie, Evan, solicitor, Inverness.
Mackenzie, Dr. F. M., Inverness.
Mackenzie, H. F., Caledonian Bank, Inverness.
Mackenzie, P. A. C., 57 Marquis Road, Carnden Square, London.
Mackenzie, Hugh, postmaster, Alness.
Mackenzie, James H., bookseller, High Street, Inverness.
Mackenzie, Murdoch, Inland Revenue, Fort-William.
Mackenzie, Simon (Harrison & Co.), Chambers Street, Edinburgh.
Mackenzie, William, factor, Ardross.
Mackenzie, William, solicitor, Dingwall.
Mackenzie, William, " Aberdeen Free Press " Office, Inverness,
Mackenzie, William, draper, Bridge Street, Inverness.
Mackinnon, Deputy Surgeon-General W. A., C.B., Aldershot.
Mackintosh, Charles, commission agent, Church Street, Inverness.
Mackintosh, Duncan, Bank of Scotland, Inverness.
Mackintosh, Duncan, draper, 57 High Street, Inverness.
Mackintosh, James, National Bank, Grantowu.
Mackintosh, James, merchant, Buenos Ayres.
Mackintosh, John, 57 High Street, Inverness.
Mackintosh, Miss, The Brae, Denny.
Mackintosh, Peter (Messrs. Macdougall & Co.'s), Gran town.
Maclachlan, Duncan, publisher, 64 South Bridge, Edinhurgh.
Maclachlan, Rev. Lachlan, Established Church, Tain.
Maclean, Alexander, coal merchant, Inverness.
Maclean, Ewen, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand.
Maclean, Roderick, Ardross, Alness.
Macleay, W. A., birdstuffer, Inverness.
Maclennan, Murdo, Shore Street, Inverness.
Macleod, Alexander, grocer, Bridge Street, Inverness.
Macleod, Alexander, 8 Church Street, Inverness.
Macleod, Robert, commercial traveller, Leith.
Maclure, Alexander, 21 Whittall Street, Birmingham.
Macmillan, Archd., Kaituna, Havelock, Marlborough, N.Z.
Macmillan, John, Kingsmills Road, Inverness.
Macnee, Dr., Inverness.
Macneil, Nigel, Dumbarton Road, Glasgow. ,
Macphail, Alexander, Lairg House, Stratbpeffer.
Macphail, Angus, 35 Lothim Street, Edinburgh.
Macpherson, D., Glenness Place, Inverness.
Macpherson, Duncan, 8 Drummond Street, Inverness.
Macpherson, James, Rose Street, Inverness.
Macpherson, Sergeant D., Chapel Street, Inverness.
Macpherson, James, 28 Melville Terrace, Edinburgh.
Macpherson, Rev. John, F. C. Manse, Lairg.
Macpherson, Mrs. Sarah, Alexandra Villa, Kingussie.
Macrae, Alexander M., Glcnoze, by Portree.
Macrae, Rev. A., Free Church Manse, Clachan, Kintyre.
Macrae, Rev. Angus, F.C., Glen-Urquhart.
Macrae, Donald, High School, Inverness.
Macrae, Duncan, Ardintoul, Lochalsh.
Macrae, Ewen, Braintrath, Lochalsh.
Macrae, Ewen, Borlum, Fort-Augustus.
Macrae, R., postmaster, Beauly.
Macrae, Roderick, Island of Eigg, by Greeuock.
Macrae, Donald, Glenvargill, Skye.
Macrae, Thomas, Glasnakill, Skye.
Macrae, Duncan, Camusunary, Skye.
212 Gaelic Society of In verness.
Macrae, John, medical student, Braintra, Lochalsh.
Macrae, Kenneth (late Achlorachan, Strathconnon), Lochcarron.
Macraild, A. E., Inverness.
Matheson, Dr. Farquhar, Soho Square, London.
Matheson, John, supervisor, Paisley.
Melven, James, bookseller, Inverness.
Menzies, Duncan, farmer, Blairich, Rogart.
Middleton, David, coal merchant, Inverness.
Morrison, Robert, jeweller, Inverness.
Morrison, William, schoolmaster, Dingwall.
Munro, A. R., 57 Camphill Road, Birmingham.
Munro, John, 54 Clyde Place, Glasgow.
Murdoch, John, " The Highlander," Inverness.
Murray, "William, chief-constable, The Castle, Inverness.
Nicolson, Sheriff, Kirkcudbright.
Nicholson, Jonathan, wine merchant, Pershore Street, Birmingham.
Nicolson, William, Whitecroft, Lydney.
Noble, Andrew, Lombard Street, Inverness.
Noble, John, bookseller, Castle Street, Inverness.
Noble, William, The Grocery, Inverness.
Reid, James, 4 High Street, Inverness.
Rhind, John, architect, Inverness.
Robertson, George, Bank of Scotland, Coupar-Angus.
Rose, Rev. A. Macgregor, F. C. Manse, Evie and Rendall, Orkney.
Rose, Hugh, solicitor, Inverness.
Ross, Alex., architect, Inverness.
Ross, Alex., late teacher, Alness.
Ross, Alex., "Advertiser" Office, Inverness.
Ross, D. R., Gas Office, Inverness.
Ross, Donald, M.A., H.M. inspector of Schools, Glasgow.
Ross, George, ironmonger, DingwalL
Ross, Jonathan, draper, Inverness.
Ross, Roderick., Middlesboro'-on-Tees.
Sharp, D., Keppoch Hill Cottage, Glasgow.
Shaw, David, Union Bank, Inverness.
Shaw, Hugh, tinsmith, Inverness.
Shaw, John D., accountant, Inverness.
Simpson, Provost, Inverness.
Sinclair, Archibald, printer, 62 Argyle Street, Glasgow.
Sinclair, Duncan, teacher, Parish School, Lochlash.
Sinclair, Rev. John, Kinloch-Rannoch.
Sinton, Thomas, Nuide, Kingussie.
Smith, Thomas A., clerk, Steam Saw Mills, Inverness,
Smith, Thomas S., 6 Frederick Street, Edinburgh.
Smith, Wm. Alex., Scottish Imperial Assurance Coy., Manchester.
Stewart, Colin J., Dingwall.
Stewart, Henry, 10 Huntly Street, Inverness.
Stewart, Robert, shipbuilder, Inverness.
Stratton, Dr., 4 Valletort Terrace, Stoke, Devonport.
Sutherland, Rev. A. C., Strathbraan, Perthshire.
Thompson, Robert, grocer, Tomnahurich Street, Inverness.
Tolmie, John, 1 Bellevue Crescent, Edinburgh.
Tulloch, Dr. David, Helmsdale.
Tulloch, John, painter, Inverness.
Walker, Chas. A., 51 Watson Street, Aberdeen.
Watson, Rev. William, Kiltearn, Evanton.
Watt, David, Volunteer Arms Hotel, Inverness.
Whyte, David, Church Street, Inverness.
Whyte, Henry, 14 Holmhead Street, Glasgow.
Whyte, John, " The Highlander," Inverness.
Wilson, George, S.S.C., 14 Hill Street, Edinburgh.
Macdougall, Charles, Church Street, Inverness.
Mackay, James John, Drummond, Inverness.
DECEASED MEMBERS' OF THE SOCIETY.
Cameron, Rev. John, Glen-Urquhart.
Gumming, James, " Advertiser " Office, Inverness.
Eraser, Simon, banker, Lochcarron.
Grant, John, 16 Inglis Street, Inverness.
Kennedy, David, farmer, Drumashie, Inverness.
Macbean, Ex-Baillie Alex., Inverness.
Munro, John, wine merchant, Inverness.
NAMES OF BOOKS. DONOR.
Ossian's Poems (H. Society's edition, ) Colonel Mackenzie
Gaelic and Latin), 3 vols., . . J of Parkrnouut.
Smith's Gaelic Antiquities, . . . ditto.
Smith's Seann Dana, .... ditto.
Highland Society's Report on Ossian's
Poems ..... ditto.
Stewart's Sketches of the Highlands, 2 vols., ditto.
Skene's Picts and Scots, .... ditto.
Dan Osiein Mhic Fhinn, .... ditto.
Macleod's Oran Nnadh Gaelach, . . ditto.
An Teachdaire Gaelach, 1829-30, . . ditto.
Carew's Ecclesiastical History of Ireland, . Mr. W. Mackay.
Grain Ghilleashuig Grannd, t\vo copies, . Mr. Charles Mackay.
Macconnoll's Reul-eolas, .... ditto.
Maclauchlan's Celtic Gleanings, . . Rev. Dr. Maclauchlan.
Maclauchl an's Early Scottish Church, . ditto.
The Dean of Lismore's Book, . . . ditto.
Macleod & De war's Gaelic Dictionary, . ditto.
Highland Society's do., 2 vols., . . Sir "Ken. S. Mackenzie
of GairJoch. Bart.
Ritson's Caledonians, Picts, and Scots, . ditto.
Dr. Walker's Hebrides, 2 vols., . . ditto.
Campbell's Language, Poetry, and Music of
the Highland Clans, . . . Mr. John Murdoch.
Macnicol's Remarks oa Dr. Johnson's Tour
in the Hebrides, . . . . ditto.
Somer's Letters from the Highlands, . ditto.
Cameron's Chemistry of Agriculture, ditto.
Sketches of Islay, . . . . ditto.
216 Gaelic Society of Inverness.
NAMES OF BOOKS. DONOR.
Cameron's History of Skye, . . . Mr. John Murdoch.
Kennedy's Bardic Stories of Ireland, . ditto.
Hicky's Agricultural Class-book, . . ditto.
Grain Ghaelach Mhic Dhunleibhe, . . ditto.
The Wolf of Badenoch, . . ' . . ditto.
Familiar Illustrations of Scottish Life, . ditto.
Antiquity of the Gaelic Language, . . ditto.
The Dauntless Eed Hugh of Tyrconnell, . ditto.
The Kilchoman People Vindicated, . . ditto.
Caraid a' Ghael Sermon, . . . ditto.
Highland Clearances the cause of Highland
Famines, ..... ditto.
Co-operative Associations, . . . ditto.
Lecture, ....... ditto.
Review of " Eight Days in Islay," . . ditto.
Gold Diggings in Sutherland, . . . ditto.
Review of Language of Ireland, . . ditto.
Highland Character, .... ditto.
An Teachdaire Gaelach, 1829-30, . . ditto.
The Scottish Regalia, .... ditto.
Campbell's West Highland Tales, 4 vols., . Mr. Alex. Mackenzie.
Bliadhna Thearlaich, .... ditto.
Macfarlane's Collection of Gaelic Poems, . Miss Hood.
Old Gaelic Bible (partly MS.), . J. Mackenzie, M.D.,
Machale's, Archbishop, Irish Pentateuch, . Canon Bourke.
Irish Translation of Moore's Melodies, . ditto.
The Bull " Ineffabilis " (Latin, English,
Gaelic, and French), . . . ditto.
Celtic Language and Dialects, . . . ditto.
Bourke's Irish Grammar, .... ditto.
Bourke's Easy Lessons in Irish, . . ditto.
Mackenzie's Beauties of Gaelic Poetry, . Rev. W. Ross, Rothe-
Macrimmon's Piobaireachd, . . . Rev. A. Macgregor.
Stratton's Gaelic Origin of Greek and Latin, ditto.
Gaelic Translation of Apocrypha (by Rev.
A. Macgregor), .... ditto.
Buchanan's Historia Scotise, . . . Mr. William Mackay.
The Game Laws, by R. G. Tolmie, . . Mr. William Mackay.
St. James's Magazine, vol. i., . . . Mr. Mackay, book-
UAMES OF BOOKS.
Fingal (edition 1762), ....
Collection of English Poems (2 vols.),
Philologic Uses of the Celtic Tongue,
Scoto-Celtic Philology, ....
Dana Oisein (Maclauchlan's edition),
Munro's Gaelic Primer, ....
M' Alpine's Gaelic Dictionary, .
M'Mhuirich's " Duanaire,"
Munro's Gaelic Grammar,
Grain Mhic-an-t-Saoir, ....
Grain Uilleam Eos, ....
Ceithir Searmoin, le Dr. Dewar,
Carsewell's Prayer Book (Gaelic),
Scot's Magazine (1757), .
History of the EebeUion, 1745-46, .
Old Gaelic New Testament,
Adhamh agus Eubh (Adam and Eve),
Old Gaelic Bible,
Grain Ailein Dughalaich, ....
Macpherson's Poems of Ossian,
An Gaidheal for 1873, .
Grain, cruinnichte le Mac-an-Tuairnear,
The Gospels, in eight Celtic dialects,
Eraser of Knockie's Highland Music,
The Clan Battle at Perth, by A. M. Shaw,
The Scottish Metrical Psalms, .
Sailm Dhaibhidh Ameadreachd (Ed. 1659).
Mr. D. Mackintosh.
Mr. D. Maciver.
Lord leaves, LL.D.,
Maclachlan & Stewart,
Mr. A. Macbean.
Mr. D. Mackintosh.
Mr. L. Mackintosh.
Mr. L. Macbean.
Mr. A. Mackintosh
Mr. J. Mackay,
Mr. Mackenzie, Bank
Mr. J. Eraser, Glasgow.
Scotsmen (9 vols.), .
Grain Ghilleasbuig Grannd,
Clarsach nan Beann,
of Eminent ) Mr. A. E. Macraild,
Mr. J.Craigie, Dundee,
218 Gaelic Soc/ely of In vern ess.
NAMES OF BOOKS. DONOR.
Fulangas Chriosd, Mr. J. Craigie, Dundee.
Dain Spioradail. ..... ditto.
Spiritual Songs (Gaelic and English), . ditto.
Alexander Macdonald's Gaelic Poems, . ditto.
Grain Mhic-an-t-Saoir, .... ditto.
Leabhar nan ceist, ..... ditto.
Co-eigneachndh Soisgenlach (Boston), . ditto.
History of the Druids (Toland's), . . ditto.
Melodies from the Gaelic, * . . ditto.
Maclean's History of the Celtic Language, ditto.
Leabhar Sailra, ..... ditto.
Origin and Descent of the Gael, . . ditto.
Stewart's Gaelic Grammar, . . . ditto.
Macpherson's Caledonian Antiquities (1768), ditto.
Biboul Noimbh (London, 1855), . . ditto.
Searmona Mhic Dhiannaid, . . . ditto.
Dain Oisein, ...... ditto.
Fingal (1762), . . . . ditto.
Life of Columba (1798), . . -. ., ditto.
Grain Rob Duinn Mhic Aoidh, . . ditto.
Dain leis an LTrr. I. Lees, . . . ditto.
Searmoua leis an Urr. E. Blarach, . . ditto.
Euglais na h-Alba, leis an Urr. A. Clare,
Inbhirnis, . . . . Ditto.
Bourke's Aryan Origin of the Gaelic Rac3, Mr. J.Mackay, S wansea
Reed's Bibliotheca fccoto-Celtica, . . ditto.
Munro's Gaolic Primer (3 copies in library), Purchased.
Euchdraidh na h-Alba, le A. Mac Coiimich
(3 copies), ..... The Author.
Dain Gailig leis an Urr. I. Lees, . . Rev. Dr. Lees, Paisley.
Philologic Uses of the Celtic Tongue, by
Professor Geddes (1872), . . . The Author.
Philologic Uses of the Celtic Tongue
(1873), .... 'x, yf . ditto.
Poems by Ossian, in metro (1796) . . Mr. Alex. Kennedy,
Proceedings of the Historical and Archaeo-
logical Association of Ireland (1870-3), The Society.
Shaw's Gaelic Dictionary (1780), . . Rev. A. Macgrogor.
History of the Culdees, Maccal! urn's, . ditto.
Macd iar mi d's Gaelic Sermons (MS., 1773), ditto.
Gaelic Grammar, Irish character (1808), . ditto.
NAMES OP BOOKS. DONOR.
Gaelic Pentateuch, Irish character, . . Rev. A. Macgregor.
Gaelic Book of Common Prayer (1819), . dilto.
Gaelic Psalter, Irish character, . . . ditto.
Transactions of the Gaelic Society of Inver-
ness, vol. i., ii., iii., and iv., .
Grain lo Kob Donn, ....
Leabhar Oran Gaidhealach,
Vible Casherick, Manx, ....
Biobla Naotutha, Irish, ....
Dr. Smith's Seann Dana,
Evans's Wel^h Grammar and Vocabulary,
Grain Uilleam llos, ....
Grain Dhonncha Bhnin, ....
Co-chruinneachadh Grain Gailig,
Book of Psalms, Irish, ....
Grain Nuadh Gaidhelach, le A. Macdhomh-
Laoidhean o 'n Sgriobtuir, D. Dewar,
Leabhar Gran Gailig, ....
Am Biobla Naomtha (1690), .
The Family of lona, ....
Grant's Origin and Descent of the Gael, .
Eathad Dhe gu Sith, ....
Dain Spioradail, Urr. I. Griogalach, .
Dara Leabhar airson nan Sgoilean Gaidh-
Treas Leabhar do. do., .
What Patriotism, Justice, and Christianity
demand for India,
Grain Ghaidhealach, ....
Priolo's Illustrations from Ossian, . . Purchased.
Photograph of Gaelic Charter, 1408, . Eev. "W. Eoss,
The Celtic Magazine, vol. i., . . The Publishers.
Elementary Lessons m Gaelic, . . . The Author.
Stewart's Gaelic Grammar, . . . Mr. D. Macintosh.
Proceedings of the Historical and Archre- 1
ologtcal Association of Ireland, ! The Society.
1874-5 (2 parts), ... . j
Do. do., 1876 (3 parts), ditto.
Gaelic Society of Inverness.
NAMES OF BOOKS.
Irish Pedigrees, by O'Hart,
Dan an Deirg agus Tiomna Ghuill (English
Translation), 2 copies, .
Transactions of the Gaelic Society of In-
verness, vol. v., .
Gaelic and English Vocabulary (1741),
Aryan Origin of the Celtic Eace and
Old Map of Scotland (1745), .
Collection of Harp Music,
Valuation Eoll of the County of Inverness
(1869-70), . . .
Do. do., Ross (1871-72), .
Inverness Directory (1869-70),
Greek Testament, .....
Greek Lexicon, . *;-.; .
Gospel of St. John adapted to the Hamil-
tonian System (Latin), .
Histoire de Gil Bias de Santillane (French),
Prophecies of the Brahan Seer, 2nd edition,
My Schools and Schoolmasters,
Gaelic Etymology of the English Language,
Dr. Charles Mackay, .
Transactions of Gaelic Society of Inverness,
vol. vi., .....
The Highland Echo, . .
The Highlander Newspaper from beginning
up to date, .....
Hebrew Celtic Affinity, Dr. Stratton,
Proceedings of the Historical and Archaeo-
logical Society of Ireland, 1877
Parts L, II., III., IV., . .
Illustrations of Waverley, published for
the Eoyal Association for promoting
the Fine Arts in Scotland (1865), .
Illustrations of Heart of Midlothian, do.
Illustrations of The Bride of Lammermoor,
do. do. (1875), ....
Illustrations of Eed Gauntlet, do. do. (1876),
Mr. C. S. Jerram.
Eev. A. M'Gregor.
Mr. John Mackay,
Mr. Colin M'Callum,
Mr. Charles Fergusson.
Mr. A. Mackenzie.
Mr. James Eeid.
J, Mackay, Swansea.
Miss Eraser, Farraline
Villa, N. Berwick.
Gaelic Society of Inverness
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